You wouldn’t think that teaching your kids to have a thankful heart should be difficult. For some reason, however, it is. My oldest is now ten. Even though we have been teaching him to say his prayers nearly his whole life, he still rushes through the thankful part to get immediately down to his wishlist. My other two sometimes have similar prayers. Here are some of the creative things we have done to work towards healthier prayer habits and thankful hearts…
Creative Ways to Help Little Ones Have Thankful Hearts
Get in the Thankful Habit
One of the best ways to help our children be thankful is to make it a habit. You’ve probably heard of listing something you are thankful for every day. Why not do it even more regularly? Try naming something you are thankful for when you sit down for meals, every time you get in the car, or before you sit down to watch television. The more your kids are asked to be aware of what they have to be thankful for, the easier it will become. Try not to let them say the same things every time, but at the end of each day, think about things they are thankful for specific to that day. God gives us good gifts each and every day!
Allow your child to take photos of things they are thankful for. Print them out to use as prayer reminders. When you pray, have your child choose 2 or 3 photos. Then have them pray with a thankful heart.
Make Thank You’s Equal to Requests
I ask my children to make sure they say thank you for just as many things as they are asking for. They count the number of prayer requests they have. Then they list at least as many things that they are thankful for. They can simply count on fingers. Older children may find this a helpful practice when prayer journaling.
Sing Praises With a Thankful Heart
There’s something special about singing praises that opens up your heart. Most kids enjoy singing too. Here is a song about thankfulness just for your little ones.
Read Books About Thankfulness
There are a few books about thankfulness, but it is a special gem when you can find one that points you back to being thankful to God. I was recently gifted a copy of A Very Thankful Prayer to review. It’s written by bestselling author Bonnie Rickner Jensen, author of the Really Woolly Series and God Loves Mommy and Me. It is perfect for any time of the year that you want to teach your kids to be thankful, but it’s especially great in the fall. The illustrations show lots of leaves, corn, squirrels, and jackets. The colors are bright while still maintaining a fall feel. The adorable animal characters are thankful for fall-inspired goodness, including pumpkins, candy apples, Thanksgiving, and more. Family, friends, kindness,and God’s love are also included in the mix. There is a cute rhyming rhythm that wraps it all together.
Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change.” James 1:17 ESV
My favorite page reminds us children that every good gift that we can be thankful for comes from God.
I’m thankful for my family
And their great big, bear-hug love.
All good things are gifts from God–
They are blessings from above.
You can enter to win a copy of A Very Thankful Prayer by Bonnie Rickner Jensen. Follow this link to enter. Good luck!
I would love to hear how you teach your children to be thankful. Please share in the comments!