10 Ways to Teach Your Children to Be More Grateful

January 26, 2015

Happy Monday! Thanks for being with us as we co-host for Make A Difference Monday, a place to get intentional about starting our week focused on the positive and dream up ways we can make a difference in the world. Today we're talking about ways we can teach ourselves, and our kids, about gratitude! 

Over the past several years we've realized it was not only important to teach our kids about kindness, but also gratitude and compassion for other people. We understand that this is not something that necessarily comes naturally to any of us, and so intentionally teaching our kids (and ourselves!) has simply become a way of life. Listed below are some resources and ideas that have helped us be more deliberate in teaching our kids about gratitude.

10 ways to teach your children (and yourself!) to be grateful:

  1. World Vision catalogs. Not just the Christmas ones, but the other editions they periodically send throughout the year, highlighting what life is like for children around the world. They will have personal stories of children and what life is like for them, including pictures. These articles have been wonderful conversation starters during family dinner time.
  2. When More is Not Enough: How to Stop Giving your Kids What They Want and Give Them What They Need. This book is an excellent resource for parents on how to practically start teaching your kids how to be grateful. Reading it is a guilt free way to incorporate gratefulness no matter if you've been doing it for awhile or just starting out now.
  3. Compassion International  has a program called Step Into my Shoes that lets your family, small group or church experience what it is like to be poor. This is an interactive activity that allows you to explore what it is like to live like a poor family in a third world country and experience the challenges they face on a daily basis. This is a wonderful teaching tool not only for kids, but adults as well.
  4. Kids Against Hunger Periodically we have taken our children to a food packing event in our community. It has been another way to educate them about hunger around the world, and ways that we can help. The children also get the opportunity to try the food and watch a video explaining more about how Kids Against Hunger is helping those in need.
  5. Sole Hope Shoe Cutting Party Sole Hope provides shoes, medical care and education to children and families in Uganda where many children struggle with jiggers, a parasite that burrows into the feet, causing infection and pain. We hosted a shoe cutting party at our house where our friends were able come and help cut out pieces to make shoes, all with things we'd through out anyway (old jeans and milk cartons). This was another event our children were able to be a part of by helping cut, sort, and package the shoes. 
  6. 7: An Experimental Mutiny Against Excess. While reading this book by Jen Hatmaker my husband and I decided to eat like the poor around the world and use the opportunity to not only learn ourselves, but to teach our children what it would be like to live as an average person in a third world country does everyday.
  7. The Verge Network This website has been a great resource for our family, offering free e-books (such as Be the Church), videos, and articles that have encouraged us to step outside of ourselves and offered tips on ways to engage those around us in practical ways. 
  8. Volunteer at a local shelter. We have volunteered several times at a local shelter to serve meals, and most recently leading up to Christmas, we helped with a Kids Hope Shop where underprivileged children could come and shop for Christmas presents for their family members. We were also able to help them pick out and wrap their gifts. 
  9. Writing thank you's and notes of encouragement. This year my family has started a new tradition where each month we write a thank you note to someone who may not get thanked very often and a note of encouragement to someone who may need a little cheer. This has opened up conversations with our kids I did not imagine, everything from talking about the homeless man on the corner to sick kids in my children's classes. While we always end by praying for the person we're writing notes to, this gives my kids a tangible way to see that they can be a small blessing in someone else's day and again teaches them to be grateful for the simple things they have (like health and food). 
  10. Homeless Care Packages. Like many areas around the country, our community has an evident homeless population. Instead of just averting our eyes to the person on the corner, my husband and I wanted to show our kids how we could help. We've taken the initiative to keep water bottles, gift cards and other supplies in our vehicles for anytime we come across a homeless person. If you're looking for ideas of what to offer the homeless in your area Bridging the Gap has a great post on how to create gift bags for the homeless
All of these ideas are easy ways to help teach our children about being grateful without lecturing or nagging them. They understand because they get to see, experience, and have compassion for others, while also realizing everything they are grateful for in their own lives. 

We'd love to hear from you! What other resources or activities have you found that have been helpful in teaching your children about gratitude?

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Today, we are linking up with the SDG Gathering and Purposeful Faith.

Make A Difference Mondays is a weekly linkup designed to encourage and inspire us to live each day on purpose—making a meaningful difference in someone’s life in even the smallest of ways. Five women regularly co-host this link-up. Read on to learn more about the vision, mission, and how to link up!

Mission: Our mission is to provide a consistent gathering place for like-minded women to build online connections, share inspiration, and provide mutual encouragement and accountability as we seek to live intentionally and make a difference in the lives of those around us.

Vision: Every Monday we invite bloggers to link up any blog posts that encourage women to live life on purpose, including testimonies or goals from your own life, small acts of kindness or service, creative tips or ideas for showing consideration to others — the possibilities are endless. Our objective is to use our God-given time and resources to his glory! 

Also, just a heads-up: the Make A Difference Mondays team has created aFacebook community group to stay in touch beyond the blog posts AND we also have a new #MADMlinkup group Pinterest board: Make A Difference Mondays Pinterest Board.


    An InLinkz Link-up


  1. Great ways to help kiddos learn to be selfless in their thoughts, actions, and hearts! God bless you in your ministry!

  2. These are fantastic! We support a World Vision child and send extra at Christmas, but I hadn't thought about using the catalogues year round to spark discussion. Thank you!

    1. Thanks Jen! Yes, the catalogs are one of our favorite dinnertime teaching tools!


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