Hi ya’ll! With the season of thankfulness coming up, I thought now would be a good time to share these 10 steps to creating a grateful heart.
It’s pretty easy to be grateful October through November there are signs everywhere reminding us to “be thankful” and “count your blessings”. But what about the rest of the year? How do we continue to have grateful hearts, as well as teach our kids to have a grateful heart?
Disclaimer- I AM NOT a professional therapist, doctor, or child rearing guru. These suggestions are simply ideas that have worked for my family. If you are looking for professional help, please discontinue reading now. But if you are interested in some helpful tips I encourage you to read on!
10 steps to creating a grateful heart: the basics
1. Say THANK YOU
Yes, this is super basic. But it is also super important. Teaching your child at an early age sets the foundation of a grateful heart for life!
2. DO NOT SPOIL!
Parents, and Grandparents, I know this is hard! We want to give our children everything they want. But that is the worst mistake we can make! Spoiling them will only create an “it’s all about me” mentality, which will compromise their relationship with family and friends.
However, if we teach them the value of hard work we will be setting them up for a successful life as an adult. As well as, instilling an underlying gratefulness for the object being worked for.
3. Be A Blessing To Others
I was raised to know that even though we didn’t have the newest and the grandest that we were still very blessed. We had food on our table, running water, and we could pay the bills. Sadly not everyone is as fortunate.
Struggles and hardships don’t discriminate. So, teach your children not to judge but to show love and be a blessing! And helping someone in need also helps yourself…it strengthens the kindness in your heart and builds your character.
4. Be The Example
Just like with anything else (attitude, work ethic, etc.) your best teaching tool is your EXAMPLE. Our kids watch every move we make. So, if we can teach them without actually sitting them down for an hour long lecture, why wouldn’t we?
Heres a few “lead by example” techniques :
- Say THANK YOU all of the time. (Not just for the big gestures.)
- Be willing to round up your bill at the grocery store for a good cause.
- Help a neighbor and expect nothing in return.
- Don’t try to keep up with Joneses. Be happy with that iPhone 8!
- Reduce/Stop Complaining about what you have/don’t have. (This is probably the most important!)
GOALS TO SET WHEN CREATING A GRATEFUL HEART
5. Start A Morning Motivational Routine
Every morning when you wake up say out loud 3 things that you are thankful for.
By doing this we transfer the gratitude from our head to our heart. It’s similar to giving yourself a pep talk. We all THINK we can accomplish a particular goal. But hearing it is what actually gives us the confidence to do it!
This will also set you up with an appreciative attitude for the day.
Have the entire family join in to create a house full of thankful and happy hearts!
6. Start A Gratitude Journal
Who has ever dealt with the “my toys are old and not fun. I want what “so and so” has”? (Both of my hands are raised!) I also must admit that us adults do that too. Sometimes we think that the person next door has it so much better.
So, when that happens we should take a minute to write down what we do have. This will help to calm the jealousy and put into perspective how truly blessed we are.
7. Say A Prayer Of THANKS
As you may know God is at the center of our family. We have raised our kids to know that every gift and blessing we have is because of Him. So, just like we say thank you to a friend we also need to say THANK YOU to God.
As a family we pray at every meal (even the kids say a prayer). This is the perfect way to express our gratitude to God for all that He has given us, as well as pray for those who could use a blessing.
teach them how to have a grateful heart
8. Teach Generosity
The saying holds true- it is better to give than to receive.
Yes, we ALL love receiving gifts and it’s natural to feel left out when we don’t receive something. But we can teach our children how to find joy in the giving.
As kids we didn’t receive physical Christmas gifts. However, we did receive something that couldn’t be bought at a store. Each of us would write on a piece of paper a chore or nice deed we would do for our siblings. These gifts were from the heart and taught us what generosity truly meant.
Now, my husband and I do buy our kids Christmas gifts that can be put under a tree. But we did not neglect to teach our kids the joy of giving. They join in on the gift buying and doing something special for their siblings. And now they get super excited to GIVE a gift out of love!
9. Teach RESPONSIBILITY, APPRECIATIVENESS, And RESPECT
These three learned traits go hand in hand. When your child appreciates something (toys for example) then they will show it respect, which in turn creates responsibility. Yes, kids play rough and break toys sometimes. But when kids become unappreciative they also become careless and will destroy what’s in front of them with no remorse.
Our job as parents is to show them how to appreciate what they have, because not everything can be replaced. Once they appreciate it they will then treat it with respect. Which then makes us realize that they are responsible and we can trust them with more privileges.
10. Teach Your Kids The True Meaning Of Happiness
A THANKFUL HEART IS A HAPPY HEART. (I heard this on Veggie Tales years ago, when I was a kid, and it has stuck with me since.)
Our happiness and contentment should not come from the latest gadget or most expensive shoes. It should come from a place of gratitude.
So, teach your kids that their worth and happiness is not found in objects. But that it is found in the thankfulness that fills their heart. THANKFULNESS leads to HAPPINESS. And HAPPINESS leads to a BLESSED LIFE (no matter the amount of money or material things you own)!
If you enjoyed these 10 Steps To Creating A Grateful Heart, you may also enjoy these Family Tips!