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How to Instill the Habit of Thanksgiving in Your Kids

Gratitude is all the rage. If you search “gratitude” on Amazon, you’ll get over 20,000 hits – many of which are gratitude journals designed to guide us towards more grateful lives. However, what so many of these resources omit is the object of our gratitude.

Gratitude implies that a gift has been given – which means there must be a Giver. God, the book of James tells us, is the Giver of every good and perfect gift. He should be the object of our gratitude.

So, here are three ways to instill the God-directed habit of thanksgiving in children.

Memorize a Bible verse together.

The Bible has a lot to say about giving thanks to God. So, help your children memorize one of those verses and encourage them to recite it to themselves every day!

Here are a couple of options.

I will give thanks to the Lord with my whole heart;

I will tell of all your wonderful deeds. (Psalm 9:1, NIrV)

Do not worry about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. (Philippians 4:6, NIrV)

Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18, NIrV)

Create a "Gratitude Wall."

Give every child a Sticky Note (or several Sticky Notes) and invite them to write or draw what they’re grateful for. Then, stick the notes on a wall so they can see how many ways there are to celebrate God’s goodness! Add to the wall as often as you like. When you fill up the space, take down old Sticky Notes and place them in a notebook to go back and read later!

Model it.

If you’re not a grateful person, you’re not going to raise grateful children. They need it modeled for them.

Do they see you praying? Do they hear you giving thanks to God for all He has done? Is gratitude central to the fabric of your family?

Commit to not only instilling thanksgiving in your children but to developing the habit of thanksgiving together.

Happy Thanksgiving!



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