Teaching Kids to be Thankful

Guiding Children From Grouchy to Grateful

In this article about teaching kids gratitude:

1. What to do when kids complain.
2. Opportunities for teaching gratitude
3. Resources for teaching kids gratitude
4. Additional articles about kids and gratefulness
5. Product recommendations

Are your kids always whining and complaining? Help redirect them to an attitude of gratefulness with these tips!

The following article, Guiding Children from Grouchy to Grateful, is written by Mrs. Mark Schultz.

“I don’t want to wear that!”
“I don’t have anything to play with!”
“I’m tired of riding in the car!”

These can be grievously familiar words to any Mom because Mothers wage the war on
keeping their children from becoming spoiled brats. Each meal, bath time, training time, or
instructions lands us on the front lines. “Why aren’t my children grateful?” our soul groans
within us each time we hear a complaint. It’s time to take our children from grouchy to grateful!

When children begin to complain they need to be redirected.

When I hear complaining I ask the offender to give me 3 things they are thankful for. Each time I do this I not only keep them from wanting to complain next time, but also show them how blessed they are. This can also be a great way to direct dinner conversation at the table towards God-honoring speech.


Another opportunity for teaching thankfulness is when you’re riding in the car. This is a great time to take turns naming things you’re thankful for. Make a game of it seeing how many times you can go around the car saying things each person is thankful for. This exercise causes you to see everything for what it really is—a gift from God. Too often we take all of life for granted.

A wise person once asked,

“What if you woke up this morning with only what you
thanked God for yesterday?”

Thought provoking! It’s time to notice the seemingly little things.
Consider the beautiful lilies. Enjoy the sparrow. And be sure to thank the One Who made them.

My mother instilled thankfulness into me, and I want my family to understand the importance of being thankful. Thankfulness is important to God. One of the sins God warns us about is being unthankful. “Because that, when they knew God, they glorified Him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was
darkened.” (Romans 1:21)

Also consider how God responded to the complaining of His people in the desert. “And when the people complained, it displeased the LORD: and the LORD heard it; and His anger was kindled; and the fire of the LORD burnt among them, and comsumed them that were in the uttermost parts of the camp.” (Numbers 11:1)

{Want to help your children go deeper into the topic of being grateful and content? My friend Kim at Not Consumed has a Biblical study designed just for kids called A Content Heart. You can get a copy of the study right here.}

What are you going to change to help bring an attitude of thankfulness into your home?


You may also like:

Cultivating a Heart of Contentment in Your Children | Christian Motherhood5 Ways to Cultivate A Heart of Contentment in Your Children

How to Teach Kids to be Grateful for GiftsHow to teach kids to be grateful for gifts

Are you having your own struggle with gratitude? You'll enjoy our study called A Heart of Gratitude: 60 Days of Praise and Prayer. Click here to get your copy.

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