10 Easy, Everyday Ways To Teach Your Kids Gratitude

Parents share the simple things they do to raise grateful children.
Talking about service is one way many parents work to instill gratitude in their children.
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Talking about service is one way many parents work to instill gratitude in their children.

Gratitude is a powerful and important value to teach children. Luckily, there are many ways for parents to emphasize generosity and appreciation in their daily lives.

We asked the HuffPost Parents Facebook audience to share the simple things they do to teach their kids to be grateful.

Here are 10 everyday ways parents work to instill gratitude in their children.

Gratitude Journals

“We use gratitude journals at home. Some have prompts, and some don’t. They’re a great way to help everyone in the family think differently about the small things we should be grateful for day to day.” ― Sacha Susanne

Thank-You Cards

“We write thank-you cards for every single gift received. It’s such a lost art but one that is important to me.” ― Lisa Fischer Foster

Dinnertime Rituals

“We ask them to name at least one thing they are grateful for every night at dinner. It’s to the point where if I forget, my daughter will ask to do it.” ― Lisa Ann

Giving Away Toys

“We are part of our local buy nothing group on Facebook, and I have my son regularly help go through toys and outgrown clothes to list on the site. I tell him they are for people who can’t necessarily afford nice new stuff. He has started to ask questions about why and I feel like it has opened his eyes to be grateful for what he has and receives.” ― Jennifer Lapaglia

Animal Shelter Fundraising

“My son has been collecting for our local animal shelter since he was 6. He is now 12. Two years ago they named him the youth ambassador. He talks to other children about what he does and how they can help too. He does huge deliveries every other month and also raises money for his birthday and through fundraisers.” ― Penny Chatzinoff Schwartz

Gratitude Jars

“We have a gratitude jar. After dinner or whenever we remember, we each write something we’re grateful for on a slip of paper and drop it in the jar. (My 7-year-olds take turns writing them for my 2-year-old.) Then when the jar gets full (or on holidays like Thanksgiving) we go through the jar and read them aloud and guess who wrote each one.” ― Teri D’Angelo

Participating In Giving Circles

“Another thing that has been really meaningful is having a family giving circle activity around the holidays. We’ve used free resources from Amplifier (which highlights this work through a Jewish lens, but I used their resources to create a non-sectarian giving circle among my friends). In our family, we have been able to implement a kind of kid-friendly pop-up model with the kids around the holidays, where my husband and I select a few organizations we know of (or Google!) and work through with our kids which one we’d like to share funds with and/or volunteer with.” ― Ashley Firestone

Donating Outgrown Clothes

“When we purge my kids’ (ages 4.5 and 3) toys and outgrown clothes, we talk about giving them to other boys and girls.” ― Joanna Mathews

Talking About Injustice

“We try to acknowledge when we see injustice (for little ones, we say something is ‘unfair’). We acknowledge our gratitude and try to figure out ways to make that gratitude available to people who aren’t able to access it right now. For example, if we see a person experiencing homelessness on the street, we both acknowledge our gratitude for having a home ourselves, and talk about what we can do to help others, and how it’s our responsibility to be helpers.” ― Ashley Firestone

Getting Involved In Your Community

“Whenever the opportunity arises ― at school fundraisers or food drives, for instance ― I take the time to explain how fortunate we are and how it’s always important to help your fellow humans (I say human because they get confused by ‘man’; they’re literal at this age!). I let them pick out the cans for food drives, pick out books for donating to the local library, etc. It’s the small things that add up (or so I hope!).” ― Kate Auletta

Quotes have been lightly edited for clarity.

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