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How to Have Thankful Children

Updated on November 6, 2014

Encouraging Thankful Hearts

With the cooling of the air and the changing colors of the leaves, our thoughts are often drawn to the approaching holidays. Way too often Thanksgiving is called Turkey Day. I like a turkey dinner as much as anyone, but I believe we need to redirect our thoughts towards the practice of thankfulness.

Start with Yourself

Do you ever wonder why your ungrateful family is so ungrateful? Do you find yourself nagging about people's ungrateful attitudes? I know I have. The first step in encouraging thankful hearts is to be thankful yourself.

  • Make a list of things for which you're thankful.
  • Thank God for the many blessings He has given you.
  • Search the Bible for verses on thankfulness.
  • Think of people you are thankful for and tell them.

To Do Today:

Get groceries

Cook dinner

Clean bathrooms

Be thankful

Creative Ways to Make Your Thankful List

Here are some creative ways you and your family can make a thankful list

  • Make a thankful book.

    Kinderplans has a simple one for small children.

  • Make a thankful scrapbook page or collage. has some beautiful examples of scrapbook pages.

  • Participate or host a thankful blog meme.

    Here is a weekly meme called Thankful Thursday.

  • Garden of Learning is hosting a Gratitude Challenge for November.

Thank God for Your Blessings - Remember God is the ultimate source of all you are and have.

And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him.

Colossians 3:17

Search the Bible: Bible Study Tools

Check out some of my favorite Bible Study tools for tackling any topic including thankfulness!

Write Thank You Notes

I must be the first to confess that I am not particularly fond of writing thank you notes. At least not the ones that I feel obligated to write. But what about writing thank you notes to people just for all the things they've done over the years, or who they are, or what they mean to you. The possibilities are endless. Receiving a note from you might really brighten their day.

Thanking Your Children

When you were thinking of the things you were thankful for, did you think of your children? I imagine if you're a parent, unless you're having a REALLY bad day, you did. However, have you told them you're thankful for them?

What about writing your children a note to put on their pillow about how you're thankful for them?

Or maybe you could put a note in their backpack or lunchbox. (unless it might embarrass them, then they might not be so thankful for you!)

What about thanking your children? Do you thank them for helping you? I know I'm guilty of not thanking my children for all that they do.

Modeling thankfulness for the things they do will go a long way towards fostering a thankful attitude towards you.

Be thankful!

Teaching Your Children to Be Thankful

  • Have your child make a thankful list.
  • Lead your children in prayer thanking God for the things that they are thankful.
  • Memorize a verse about thankfulness.
  • Encourage them to thank others.
  • Help your children to think of others who are not as "fortunate" as they are.
  • Practice giving to others. One thing we've enjoyed in the past is Operation Christmas Child. Another idea is to adopt a child through Angel Tree ministry.
  • Practice serving others. Check and see where you can volunteer with your children. Some ideas are homeless shelters, food pantries, and nursing homes.


Make sure that a treat is really a treat by making them unusual instead of the norm. If you always buy your child a small toy when you're shopping, it doesn't encourage thankfulness. Instead they come to expect it!

Reader Feedback

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    • profile image

      agent009 6 years ago

      For those who aren't Christians and really anyone in general, just raise them with modesty, humility, and compassion for those who don't have as much.

    • VSP profile image

      VSP 7 years ago

      Great reminders and ideas. Have posted it on my facebook page, Homeschool Preschool thru High School

    • lemonsqueezy lm profile image

      lemonsqueezy lm 7 years ago

      Oh wow! This is a great lens. Thanks for stopping by to my Creating a Thankful Tree lens. I am going to lensroll this to my lens as well. Very well done.

    • profile image

      jgelien 8 years ago

      Lovely lens. It's important to teach children the importance of thankfulness in such a "me me me" world. 5*

    • evelynsaenz1 profile image

      Evelyn Saenz 9 years ago from Royalton

      Thank you for such a thoughtful lens.

    • Kristenph profile image

      Kristenph 9 years ago

      [in reply to OhMe] Thank you. I just figured out what a lensroll was. I added your site to this lens.

    • OhMe profile image

      Nancy Tate Hellams 9 years ago from Pendleton, SC

      Oh, what a wonderful lens. I love your son's video. Lensrolling to Thanksgiving Prayer.

    • profile image

      Michelle_Claire 9 years ago

      Thanks for the list of links. I was looking for something worth doing with my two children. They are 6 and 3 years old. We are going to work on our first thankful list after school for them to share with the family on Thanksgiving.

    • profile image

      anonymous 9 years ago

      Thanks for guiding us in the ways of thankfulness. It's the first step in keeping a positive attitude. 5*

    • kathypi lm profile image

      kathypi lm 9 years ago

      very nice lens, good teaching lesson for us all, kathy

    • chefkeem profile image

      Achim Thiemermann 9 years ago from Austin, Texas

      Here's a blessing of encouragement for you, Kristen. Plus 5*s. :)

    • Lee Hansen profile image

      Lee Hansen 9 years ago from Vermont

      I'm thankful you made this lens and am featuring it on my Thanksgiving crafts for kids lens. Have a peaceful holiday season. 5*

    • Angelina Howard profile image

      Angelina Howard 9 years ago

      This is something that I have been explaining to my children for years. We actually sit around the table after dinner and talk about what we are thankful for. The kids really get the concept now. Thank you for a great 5* lens.

    • Teacher Adez7 profile image

      Teacher Adez7 9 years ago

      This is a great lens, and we could use more of them. :)

    • profile image

      Oh Petit Bebe 9 years ago

      This is a beautiful lens with a great topic. I love it.

    • Kristenph profile image

      Kristenph 9 years ago

      Thanks for the suggestion. I added it to the links.

    • LilliputStation profile image

      LilliputStation 9 years ago

      This is a great lens. You may want to add a link to LightHome Publication's My Thankfulness Journal. It is really great and is cuurently 25% off at Currclick. It is like an "all about me" book, but with a focus on thankfulness.