How to develop a heart of THANKFULNESS in your kids

Thanksgiving is a time where we stop and are thankful for what God has done for us.  Many families have Thanksgiving traditions they celebrate on Thanksgiving Day, such as telling others what we are thankful for.

When my kids were younger, as a parent, I wanted to see my kids be thankful, not just on one day, but every day. 

Have you ever felt like you pour your life into your kids, but they don’t seem to appreciate what you do?

If you get the sense that your kids are not thankful for what you give them, you may be giving too much. Worse yet, you could be giving them a sense of entitlement.

The bottom line is that we need to do more than give unconditionally to our kids.

Children are not born with an attitude of gratitude. You need to have a strategy to teach your kids to be grateful.

So what can we do to teach kids to have an attitude of gratitude all year long.

Here are 7 strategic ways to develop a thankful heart in your kids:

Teach your kids to tithe.  Don’t give your kids money for the offering. Teach them to tithe from “their money.” Tithing is saying “Thank You” to God.

NO is a good boundary word.  Learn to say “No” to your kids.  It teaches them where you end and they begin. You need to say “No” more that you say “Yes”.

Do not be manipulated. This may be a surprise to you, but kids are master manipulators. If your child is throwing a fit to get something, don’t give in.  Stand your ground.

“A child who gets his own way brings his mother to shame.” Proverbs 29:15

Teach your kids how to save. You don’t have to give your child everything they want. Teach them how to work and save up for something big. This gives your kids a sense of control and they will learn how to value the things they do have.

Volunteer. Choose a food pantry or other charity to volunteer at as a family.  Discuss what you are doing and why. As your kids get older let them choose a cause.

Serve others. When children learn how to serve others at church and through mission projects, it teaches them that their purpose in life is to meet the needs of others.

Random acts of kindness.  We can make a difference, no matter how big or small, by our act of kindness to someone.  This is something any child can do.  They can dream up some great ways to be kind, but here are a few examples:

  • Be kind and say something nice someone – intentionally
  • Do a chore without being asked
  • Ask someone who is sitting alone to play or talk
  • For the “crafty” kid make Thank You cards to give to others
  • Give something to someone just because you know it will brighten their day (and expect nothing in return). 
  • Do a fundraiser (ex: lemonade stand) and donate funds to a cause to help others

It is never to late to start developing a heart of thankfulness in our children.

Have fun and Happy Thanksgiving.


One more thing: Would you like to share these points with your parents at church? If so, we’ve created an infographic.

Simply click download to your computer then attach it with your personalized email to your parents.

==>> Click here for your free infographic

2 thoughts on “How to develop a heart of THANKFULNESS in your kids

    • Missy McKinnon says:

      Thank you Mark. Absolutely share it, and the kid’s pastors can share it with their parents too. I thought this would be a great way to put some ideas in front of parents this Thanksgiving and all year round. Blessings.

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