I have only been a mother for seven years so I’m not saying I know how to raise grateful kids or kids that are thankful. What I am saying is that you need to be intentional about teaching it, no matter the age. If you have a child that thanks you for everything and is grateful for what they have, BRAVO to you. In this post I’m not wanting to guilt trip you into anything but what I do want to do is offer some suggestions if you feel like your children are having a hard time in this area.
2016 was the year of the Grateful Jar in our home. Last Christmas I gave each child $5.00 to buy their dad something for Christmas and all I heard about was how mad they were that I wasn’t letting them buy themselves something…5 days before Christmas! January 2016 the Grateful Jar was introduced into our family. I bought a clear glass jar at Wal-Mart for $7.88 and a package of scrapbook paper. I cut the paper in pieces about the size of a business card and all we did was write one thing were thankful for each time we ate dinner at the table. I would write the child’s name and the date on each piece of paper. We even had our babysitter do it one night while she was watching the kids. Essentially, with this jar we force our kids to verbalize something they are thankful for. Sometimes we get Sunday School answers like, “my mom and dad,” but sometimes they are honest like, “Legos.”
Something we are doing this year is Operation Christmas Child shoeboxes. We showed the kids some videos off You Tube of kids receiving boxes and explained the purpose of sending a box and how we can track it to see where it ends up. We have a box per child that is their gender and their age so they know what to put in the box. Operation Christmas Child does an outstanding job of providing resources to get kids excited about their endeavor.
While driving the kids to school I keep “Kids on Mission” saved on my phone and bring up the weekly prayer requests they email. This gives our kids a bigger world view than where we live. This allows them to know that there are kids all over the world that need us to pray for them.
Like I said earlier, I don’t claim to have all the answers in raising kids, I just know what we do at our house, what has worked for us, and what has not worked for us. As a parent, I would highly recommend the book, “Raising Grateful Kids in an Entitled World,” by Kristen Welch. Welch offers suggestions at the end of each chapter for different ages of children (toddler to teenagers) to assist you.