10 Things to Do to Raise Grateful Children


by Paula Solis Krock

Raising grateful children has long been a personal goal of mine, and I am not alone.  I feel pretty confident that the vast majority of parents are with me when I say, I don’t want the screaming five-year old who didn’t get the right colored gift.

Yet, after some research on gratitude and the power it has on children and adults alike, it became less about the screaming five-year old, and more about the incredible impact of gratitude on our lives.

According to research from the Greater Good Science Center at UC Berkeley, “people who practice gratitude feel considerably happier (25%) than those in a control group; they are more joyful, enthusiastic, interested, and determined.” Other research shows that grateful kids are healthier.Child_Valentines_card_2461

Further fueling my gratitude fire, is a regular blog I read, http://www.aholyexperience.com/ which gave me this idea to create a Tree of Gratitude, which evolved into my own creation on my kitchen wall. Emily Post is another resource full of good information on gratitude and good manners.

Here are my 10 Things to do to raise grateful children

1. Teach your child to say “Thank you” by modeling it yourself. Seems simple, but even adults can forget this gesture.

2. Keep gratitude on the tip of your tongue: Say it out loud, write it down, keep a Gratitude journal, paint a tree on your wall!

3. Slowly begin opening the world up to your child so they can be thankful for what they have. Someone once told me, “Your child doesn’t know they should be thankful for the things you give them, because they have never been without.” Truly, if you are a good parent, you are providing for their needs. Good job! How should they know there are children in this world who don’t eat every meal? It’s your job to widen their perspective; not in a brow beating sort of way, but pose an age appropriate question: Where do the birds sleep at night? Are they cold?…which could eventually down the road, lead to a conversation about world needs, local needs, and how to respond to those needs; as well as being thankful for what they have.

Helping Hands Child4. Create regular traditions or daily rituals to incorporate gratitude: Asking at the dinner table, “What are you most thankful for today?”

5. Mentally process throughout the day what you are thankful for—it will spill out to your children!

6. Consistently thank those who serve you. Ask your child, “What can we do for Daddy? He worked so hard on that play set for you. How can we thank him?”

7. Create places for your child to give: cards, homemade gifts, thoughtful words, “The Mail lady is a kind person, we should tell her that the next time we see her.”

8. Help your child think through the action of someone who is kind. “No you don’t like the cookies the neighbor brought over, but wasn’t that nice of her to think of us?”

9. Read books on gratitude, or discuss what they could be thankful for in books: Giving Tree, Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs, Have You Filled a Bucket Today? Mama Panya’s Pancakes, Pete’s a Pizza,

10. Pay it forward; return a kind action with a kind action. Your children are watching all the time.


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  1. Jason Adams says:

    What a great post, thanks you for sharing. I think the scariest part about being a parent is knowing that it’s your responsibility to try to teach your children to be good people and instill good values, morals, the knowledge to know the difference between right and wrong and so much more. My wife and I just read a great book I’d like to share with other parents called “Teaching Kids to Be Good People” by Annie Fox, M.Ed. You can check her and the book out on the website http://www.anniefox.com/. It’s a wonderful read and I’d recommend it to anyone. Thanks again for the post.

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