The Joy of Teaching – An Evan-Moor Blog

Sharing creative ideas and lessons to help children learn

Ways to Teach Children Gratitude


Blog-gratitude-thankGratitude is like a muscle—it needs to be exercised often. The best thing we can do as parents is to model gratitude at home. Here are 6 tips that you can try for the upcoming holiday season and all year long to practice gratitude with your children.

  1. Say thank you at home. Say it to your partner, your children, when you are out to eat, and when checking out at the grocery store. Showing your children that you say “thank you” will help them see how and when it can be used.
  2. Make it a daily ritual. At dinner or bed time, review what each person in your family is most grateful for. This helps you to understand what your children appreciate, and they can also hear about what you appreciate.
  3. Don’t give in to every request. I often found myself buying unplanned items that my children requested. I soon found this was expected and they became less grateful. As a result, we now have looking days and buying days. When it is a buying day, we usually buy a gift for someone else, or my children contribute some of their own money.
  4. Show the giving process. As children outgrow their clothes and toys, we often donate them. Instead of doing the donation without your children present, be sure they go through the process with you so they can see the impact of their donation.
  5. Match gift requests with donations or gifts of kindness. As the holiday season is upon us and wish lists are being made, consider asking your child to write things or actions they are willing to give as they may receive some of the items on their list, not all. It will be good for them to see how easy it is to give and receive.
  6. Never underestimate the power of a thank-you card. Let’s not forget the lost art of writing thank-you cards, especially as our children get older. Do have them make and/or write thank-you cards for the gifts they receive.


Ready to start practicing gratitude in your home? Start today with these resources:

  • 12 gratitude projects to create that show tangible expressions of gratitude including making a garland, centerpieces, and giving trees.
  • Three books to read:

The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein

Thanks a Million by Nikki Grimes

An Awesome Book of Thanks by Dallas Clayton

  • Plus, here are some sample activities from Evan-Moor’s TeacherFileBox to help you bring gratitude into your home:

Grades K–1        What Are You Thankful For? minibook.Screen Shot 2014-11-17 at 3.04.32 PM

Grades 1–3        Write a Thank-You Card

Grades 3–5        A writing prompt to thank someone for doing something nice.

Grades 1–6         Create a Thank-You Card

Contributing Writer

contributor-trisha-smallTrisha Thomas is the mother of two and serves on the board of directors at a co-op preschool. She has also been a marketer of educational materials for grades PreK–8 for more than 15 years.

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