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Teaching Children Gratitude With Creative Thanksgiving Prompts

Updated on November 21, 2013

"Tell your Aunt Claire thank you, Brittney." Obediently, She shyly whispers a thank you and steps back behind her mother's protective shadow for comfort. Her mother repeats the murmured words and smiles down at her little girl. Meanwhile, Brittney wonders why it is so important that she say these words to her aunt.

Can you remember when you started to express your gratitude to people? Most of us learn to say thank you at an early age but understanding for communicating our actions may be acquired later in life.

As parents we can help our child to cultivate thankfulness early so that it comes naturally as they mature. Emotionally, gratitude helps one to differentiate between wants and needs, leads to feelings of empathy, and helps us see life positively. The gratitude or thank you prompts listed in this article will encourage children to express appreciation on their own. If a child is directed to think of others on his or her own it is more likely to have a lasting impact. As Zig Ziglar once said "Of all the attitudes we can acquire, surely the attitude of gratitude is the most important and by far the most life-changing."

A simple basket filled with prompt cards can be the centerpiece of the Thanksgiving table.
A simple basket filled with prompt cards can be the centerpiece of the Thanksgiving table. | Source

Gratitude With A Purpose

Gratitude is a virtue that allows us to focus on the other person's well being rather than our own. It takes the emphasis from us and casts it upon the receiving individual. It is an opportunity to show sincere appreciation to those who have given freely to us.

Being thankful requires humility. When giving thanks, it is humbling and one realizes how vulnerable they are at the moment. One develops a selfless soul and develops the quality of a contrite spirit when they foster this desirable quality.

There are so many words to express your feelings to someone, but truly what strikes the heart is a simple 'thank you'. Upon hearing those two words, people may melt, cry, feel relief, or change their entire attitude. It is almost magical!

Share Your Thoughts

What is the best way to teach children gratitude?

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Prompting Appreciation

As we gather for the Thanksgiving meal, families have different methods of expressing thanks for the year's blessings. Besides saying grace, often people are encouraged to say a word or two at the table expressing their gratitude for things such as friends, jobs, or family. And many of us at are a loss for words. So we can only imagine how difficult it may be for children to convey their thoughts of appreciation.

Here are a few suggestions that will help children to communicate thankfulness easily:

  • Have children make name cards for everyone. They can list one or two things they associate with that person. For example: Uncle Mike: Gives me hugs, likes to laugh.
  • Create simple place cards and decorate them with stickers, drawings, or stamped images. They can use these to help people think of things for which they are thankful (pets, food, home, etc.). Individuals can use these prompts to express their thanks.
  • Use decorated index cards to write notes of appreciation to family and friends. Children need to only write simple words or brief sentence to convey their gratitude: Thanks for giving me piggy back rides, You make the best peanut butter sandwiches, You are nice. Younger children can draw pictures or use stickers on the cards instead. These can be given to people as they come to dinner.
  • Place-mats are always fun for children to make and it is easy for them to write upon or create drawings. They can be customized for individuals or just general prompt statements for anyone to use when it comes their turn to express thanks.

The prompt cards featured below are made from basic material such as index cards, die-cut shapes, name cards, notepads and paint sample cards. They can be easily decorated with stickers, stamp images, and stencils. I'm sure families can think of other ways to use these prompt cards to make thanksgiving memorable. There is little cost and effort in creating the prompts but the message is priceless.

Suggestions and Ideas

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Use name cards to write one or two words about the person that you like about them. It will make  them feel special and appreciated. Index cards and small notepads are quick thank you note resources. Die-cuts can be made or purchased at craft stores.  Paint sample cards are free and found at hardware and paint stores.
Use name cards to write one or two words about the person that you like about them. It will make  them feel special and appreciated.
Use name cards to write one or two words about the person that you like about them. It will make them feel special and appreciated.
Index cards and small notepads are quick thank you note resources.
Index cards and small notepads are quick thank you note resources.
Die-cuts can be made or purchased at craft stores.  Paint sample cards are free and found at hardware and paint stores.
Die-cuts can be made or purchased at craft stores. Paint sample cards are free and found at hardware and paint stores.

Suggestions For Prompt Cards & Notes

 
Prompt Card List
 
Toys
Family
Pets
Friends
School
Clothes
Food
Home
Car - Transporation
Job
Beds
Teacher
Church
God - Faith
Sister/Brother
Earth - Nature
Animals
Love and other positive emotions

Gratitude Instills Character & Virtues For Life

Source

Funny Thank You Card Clip

You Reap What You Sow

Writing notes of thanks comes easy as an adult and is a means of sharing your intimate thoughts and sentiments of appreciation. Generally, people feel really good about themselves and increase their levels of happiness when they express gratitude. The conscious focus on gratitude may also remind you of unassuming pluses that get lost in the ups and downs of a busy life. What's more, gratitude turns your attention to what you do have instead of what you don't. (source: Philip Watkins, Psychologytoday.com, 11/2013)

With this in mind, just think about how much more your child will benefit from early training in gratitude. Knowing how to easily gives thanks will increase your child's overall well-being and lead to a positive lifestyle.

And so I am thankful and glad, and I feel completely secure. Psalm 16:9 (GNTD)

Comments

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    • teaches12345 profile image
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      Dianna Mendez 2 years ago

      Mothersof nations, I hope you have a wonderful family gathering. I'm sure your home will be filled with gratittude and blessings. Thank you for coming by today.

    • mothersofnations profile image

      Mothers of Nations 2 years ago

      Great article! It's wonderful to teach children to have a heart of gratitude at an early age. These are great suggestion for getting the little ones involved - I will definitely be engaging and sharing this others! Voted up and shared! God bless you*

    • teaches12345 profile image
      Author

      Dianna Mendez 3 years ago

      MIllionaire, thanks for the feedback. I am so thrilled when I see a child express gratitude over a little thing -- gives me hope!

    • Millionaire Tips profile image

      Shasta Matova 3 years ago from USA

      What great suggestions to teach children the value of gratitude! We've gotten away from teaching children morals and values, and our world has suffered for it. Thanks for bringing back these lessons so we can remember we should do it, and the advice on how we can impart these lessons to our kids.

    • teaches12345 profile image
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      Dianna Mendez 3 years ago

      Rdssparrow, I appreciate your visit and comment. Thankfulness is one virture that will always produce great things and people. Enjoy your day.

    • rdsparrowriter profile image

      rdsparrowriter 3 years ago

      Useful beautiful hub :) Thank you for sharing about the heart of thankfulness without taking people for granted.

    • teaches12345 profile image
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      Dianna Mendez 3 years ago

      Ladyfiddler, if we had more thankful people we would see less depression and strife in this world. Thanks for your add to the content. Take care and stay well.

    • LadyFiddler profile image

      Joanna Chandler 3 years ago from On planet Earth

      You're right about reaping what you sew. I don't like unthankful people and a simple thank U can go so far. I think all children should be trained to be grateful to appreciate the smallest things.

      Thanks for sharing.

    • teaches12345 profile image
      Author

      Dianna Mendez 3 years ago

      Thank you, Eddy.

    • Eiddwen profile image

      Eiddwen 3 years ago from Wales

      A brilliant hub Dianna which I am sure will benefit many parents.

      Enjoy your day.

      Eddy.

    • mecheshier profile image

      mecheshier 3 years ago

      You are welcome and thank you! Enjoy your day as well

    • teaches12345 profile image
      Author

      Dianna Mendez 3 years ago

      Mccheshier, I am glad you found some ideas useful for the holiday. It was so good to see you here. Enjoy your day.

    • mecheshier profile image

      mecheshier 3 years ago

      What a wonderful Hub. There are some great ideas here. Thank you for sharing. Voted up for useful and awesome.

    • teaches12345 profile image
      Author

      Dianna Mendez 3 years ago

      Agusfanami, glad you found these ideas interesting. Giving thanks does so much for the soul!

      Rasimo, Aww, I so appreciate your comment. How kind. May your day be blessed.

    • Rasimo profile image

      Rasimo 3 years ago

      “The mediocre teacher tells. The good teacher explains. The superior teacher demonstrates. The great teacher inspires.”

      ― William Arthur Ward - Teaches12345, you're great!

    • agusfanani profile image

      agusfanani 3 years ago from Indonesia

      I believe besides through role model, thanksgiving prompts is a creative as well as educative way in expressing gratitude. I've never thought about this technique before. Thank you for the idea you share in this hub.

    • teaches12345 profile image
      Author

      Dianna Mendez 3 years ago

      Egamboa, I appreciate your visit and support. Hope you had a great Thanksgiving.

      Avian, I agree! Take care.

    • aviannovice profile image

      Deb Hirt 3 years ago from Stillwater, OK

      Love is a wonderful feeling. Thankfulness is a great virtue.

    • EGamboa profile image

      Eileen Gamboa 3 years ago from West Palm Beach

      Wow, now that's providing an experience for the children. Just wonderful!

    • teaches12345 profile image
      Author

      Dianna Mendez 3 years ago

      Denise, role modeling is the best way to influence children. I know I learned great life-lessons from my parents. Have a wonderful week.

      Sally, the cards would make nice momentos of the gathering. Thanks for the add on to the topic!

      Rebecca, the cards are a fun way to get children to think about others and to learn how to express themselves. Thanks for the valuable comment. Enjoy your week.

      Lyric, thanks for visiting and commenting - always nice to see you. Thanks for your kind words. Enjoy your week and stay safe.

    • thelyricwriter profile image

      Richard Ricky Hale 3 years ago from West Virginia

      Teaches, another brilliant article. Voted up, useful, awesome, and interesting. Your articles are always useful and beneficial. Certainly one of the best teachers in the Hubpage community. I've been so busy lately with my business so I'm late for this one. Even so, there's always helpful tips and ideas in your writing. Happy Holidays!

    • rebeccamealey profile image

      Rebecca Mealey 3 years ago from Northeastern Georgia, USA

      The thank you note cards are acute idea. Many parents need to encourage their little ones to be more grateful. This will be helpful. Thanks for sharing.

    • sallybea profile image

      Sally Gulbrandsen 3 years ago from Norfolk

      teaches12345 -

      What a lovely idea. Little cards like these would be treasured by the recipient for ever. Thanks for sharing.

      Sally

    • Denise Handlon profile image

      Denise Handlon 3 years ago from North Carolina

      What a wonderful hub, Dianna. Marvelous examples of ways to teach children. I've always been a strong believer in role modeling behavior, but all of the suggestions are great. One of the things I enjoyed the most was the chart. Up/U/I/B and A and passing it on...

    • teaches12345 profile image
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      Dianna Mendez 3 years ago

      Hello Peggy, I could have used these at our Thanksgiving dinner even though we had not children present. Hope yours was also a great celebration.

    • Peggy W profile image

      Peggy Woods 3 years ago from Houston, Texas

      I absolutely love your place card idea with a few words written by children. Such a great idea! Hope your Thanksgiving was a wonderful one.

    • teaches12345 profile image
      Author

      Dianna Mendez 3 years ago

      RTalloni, always nice to show gratitude to others. Have a blessed Thanksgiving!

    • RTalloni profile image

      RTalloni 3 years ago from the short journey

      Such an important topic! Hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving with your family. Pinned to my Thanksgiving board.

    • teaches12345 profile image
      Author

      Dianna Mendez 3 years ago

      Pamela, it is one of the highest privileges a person can do: raise a child to value life and respect others. I'm sure you have contributed much to yours.

      Mike, thanks for the support and visit. It is always good to teach children some values in life.

      Eddy, thanks for your comment and votes up.

      Glimmer, I am glad that someone is going to use the ideas to encourage gratitude. It makes me smile. Dont' worry about your daughter, I am sure she will learn much through your role modeling and love.

      Happy Thanksgiving to each of you! Blessings.

    • Glimmer Twin Fan profile image

      Glimmer Twin Fan 3 years ago

      I love this idea. In this day and age, it's not that easy to teach this and my daughter, soon to be 11, needs reminding often. It's easy to forget what we have, me included. I think I might see if the cousins want to do this this Thanksgiving. Shared.

    • Eiddwen profile image

      Eiddwen 3 years ago from Wales

      Interesting and very useful Dianna . Voting up and wishing you a great day.

      Eddy.

    • Mike Robbers profile image

      Mike Robbers 3 years ago from London

      Very useful tips Teaches. I am sure every parent would and should appreciate and learn something from this one..

      Voted up,keep up the good work!

    • Pamela99 profile image

      Pamela Oglesby 3 years ago from United States

      I think it is so important to teach children these concepts when they are young also. I love your suggestions! I think one of the most important things we ever do in our lives is to raise our children well. Awesome hub!

    • teaches12345 profile image
      Author

      Dianna Mendez 3 years ago

      Dr BJ, I do believe you are right; people seem to lack this social skill today in many ways. Let's hope they catch on as we continue to extend our gratitutde towards others. Enjoy your weekend and stay safe.

    • teaches12345 profile image
      Author

      Dianna Mendez 3 years ago

      Tillsontitan, I try to send a thank you card for almost everything. People need to have a smile from hearing how much they are appreciated. I trust you are having a great weekend.

    • teaches12345 profile image
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      Dianna Mendez 3 years ago

      Epbooks, I love it when a young one expresses good manners. It is so refreshing. I hope your day is going well.

    • teaches12345 profile image
      Author

      Dianna Mendez 3 years ago

      Alicia, thanks for your add to the topic. Always a good contribution to topics. Have a wonderful Thanksgiving!

    • teaches12345 profile image
      Author

      Dianna Mendez 3 years ago

      It is true. Today, children need to be taught these values early so that they learn to respect others. Thanks for adding this thought to the content.

    • teaches12345 profile image
      Author

      Dianna Mendez 3 years ago

      Vellur, I have used prompt cards for many lessons and they do help to make the learning fun. Have a wonderful weekend, dear friend.

    • teaches12345 profile image
      Author

      Dianna Mendez 3 years ago

      Crafty, you have set a great example for your children. Applause and hugs.

    • teaches12345 profile image
      Author

      Dianna Mendez 3 years ago

      Mekenzie, I too thank God each morning for another day to experience life. I love your comment so filled with truth!

    • teaches12345 profile image
      Author

      Dianna Mendez 3 years ago

      Jackie, exactly - the younger the better when it comes to teaching values that last. Enjoy your weekend.

    • teaches12345 profile image
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      Dianna Mendez 3 years ago

      Nell, always appreciate your positive reflections. Have a wonderful weekend.

    • teaches12345 profile image
      Author

      Dianna Mendez 3 years ago

      Denise, it all comes down to being humble and grateful for the simple things of life. Thank you, Denise for stating this truth.

    • teaches12345 profile image
      Author

      Dianna Mendez 3 years ago

      Faith, I love the scripture reference too because it sums up the topic well. Blessings and Have A Great Thanksgiving.

    • teaches12345 profile image
      Author

      Dianna Mendez 3 years ago

      Suzette, role modeling is the best method of teaching children almost anything of value. Well said, dear lady.

    • drbj profile image

      drbj and sherry 3 years ago from south Florida

      Thank you, Dianna, for the very clever Thank You prompts and ideas. Too many parents and caretakers appear to forget that they are role models for their children. And too many adults forget to express gratitude.

    • tillsontitan profile image

      Mary Craig 3 years ago from New York

      I'm a big proponent of writing thank you cards, always have, always will. Maybe that's why I enjoyed this hub so much. You've said it all. I've done many of the things you suggest with my children and grandchildren and I totally agree giving thanks makes the giver feel better too!

      Voted up, useful, awesome, and interesting.

    • epbooks profile image

      Elizabeth Parker 3 years ago from Las Vegas, NV

      Fantastic hub. There is nothing more refreshing than seeing a child who practices good manners. We learned ours at a young age and saying thank you is such a small, but important thing to learn. Showing gratitude is imperative in this world. Thanks for posting this timely hub!

    • AliciaC profile image

      Linda Crampton 3 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

      You've shared some great ideas about how children can express their gratitude and about why this is important, Dianna. This is a very helpful hub for families. I hope you have a happy Thanksgiving!

    • DDE profile image

      Devika Primić 3 years ago from Dubrovnik, Croatia

      Teaching Children Gratitude With Creative Thanksgiving Prompts a wonderfully thought of hub children should be taught more about being thankful in times of today as most children have lost respect for society or themselves. Teaching a child such values shows them greater things in life.

    • Vellur profile image

      Nithya Venkat 3 years ago from Dubai

      Great ideas to help children to think about being thankful. The prompt cards are a great idea. Voted up, useful and interesting.

    • CraftytotheCore profile image

      CraftytotheCore 3 years ago

      Great Hub! I have two sets of plastic drawer containers full of arts and crafts supplies. My children are always writing thank you notes to their teachers and friends. They use stickers to decorate them. It's so sweet.

    • Mekenzie profile image

      Susan Ream 3 years ago from Michigan

      Hi teaches, Great ideas on spurring on thankfulness in children - and the best time to feature it with Thanksgiving around the corner.

      Most days the first thing I do when my eyes open is to thank God for another day and for being a very present help in trouble. He floods me with peace and strength.

      A thankful heart does make a difference. Thank you teaches for a very uplifting hub.

      Hugs and Happy Thanksgiving!

      Mekenzie

    • Jackie Lynnley profile image

      Jackie Lynnley 3 years ago from The Beautiful South

      I think especially today this is a great thing to instill in children and the younger the better. You have some great ideas as always. ^

    • Nell Rose profile image

      Nell Rose 3 years ago from England

      This is a great idea, its so important to teach children how to show gratitude and make it fun too! voted up and shared, nell

    • denise.w.anderson profile image

      Denise W Anderson 3 years ago from Bismarck, North Dakota

      Expressing gratitude does lead to greater happiness in life. When we, as adults, express it in our homes, our children are more likely to do the same. The ideas in this hub are great, and can lead to increased discussion about the good things we have in our lives, as well as helping children to recognize the good in others.

    • Faith Reaper profile image

      Faith Reaper 3 years ago from southern USA

      Great article, teaches. I think the younger the better for sure and then it is ingrained in their character for a lifetime. I love that scripture there at the end. Up and more and sharing. God bless. Have a lovely Thanksgiving, Faith Reaper

    • suzettenaples profile image

      Suzette Walker 3 years ago from Taos, NM

      Wonderful article and at such an important time of the year. Your suggestion (s) for showing gratitude toward frirnds and family is important to instill when children are young. Being the role model of the grateful behavior and attitude you want your children to become is still has the most powerful effect on the child. I enjoyed reading this and well said and written.

    • teaches12345 profile image
      Author

      Dianna Mendez 3 years ago

      It took me some time to realize how much thankfulness affected my attitude. Great to see you and have a wonderful Thanksgiving with family.

    • teaches12345 profile image
      Author

      Dianna Mendez 3 years ago

      Hi Michelle. The sentiment is likewise. I so appreciate your support. Have a wonderful day.

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      I am a big believer in modeling proper behavior...thankfulness begins at home. Having said that, I love these exercises and prompts. Well done, Dianna.

    • midget38 profile image

      Michelle Liew 3 years ago from Singapore

      I am thankful for having gotten to know you, Dianna. And I am sharing these excellent suggestions, right now!

    • teaches12345 profile image
      Author

      Dianna Mendez 3 years ago

      Cygnet, making it fun always helps the learning process and this is a great way to make it happen.

      Cheelaury, values are what make us decent people.

      Thank you, both, for stopping by to add flavor to the topic. Blessings!

    • cheeluarv profile image

      cheeluarv 3 years ago from INDIA

      Good article on one of the real values of life and how to groom the children with those qualities.The ideas are really innovative to use.

    • cygnetbrown profile image

      Donna Brown 3 years ago from Alton, Missouri

      We have been looking at ideas to help teach our daughter gratitude for all the blessings in her life. These are some very creative ideas.