It can be hard to know how to teach kids to be grateful. Now that I’m a parent, I’ve been trying to find ways my children understand this concept. However, thanks to my cousin, the struggle was made easier.

The Best Way to Teach your kids Gratitude - child at school turning around and smiling at camera
Gratitude and kids is a very important topic!

My cousin Jill is officially the most creative parent I’ve ever met. Several years ago, before I even had kids, I was in awe of her brilliant ways to teach kids gratitude.

Related: Thought of the day

What is Gratitude: Gratitude Definition for Kids

Gratitude is the virtue of thankfulness. It is being able to easily show thankfulness, and to return kindness for things you have or things someone has done for you.

Gratitude is being aware of and thankful for the good things that happen in your life and taking the time to express appreciation and return kindness. Being grateful is more than saying thank you. When you express gratitude, it can actually lead to a stronger sense of well-being.

Common Sense Media, What is Gratitude?
How to teach my child to be grateful - Kids Activities Blog - child laying on ground looking up at camera smiling
Kids who are grateful are happier.

What Does Thankful Mean – How to teach my chil

In today’s world, teaching gratitude isn’t easy nor is learning how to be grateful an easy feat. You have all these materialistic things flashing in front of your face on social media, television, and everywhere you go – someone always has the latest gadget.

Our kids see this.

They see us with our iPhone stapled to our hand, and they are modeling our behavior. And if it isn’t our phones it is our computers, or gaming systems both large and handheld.

Just yesterday I was walking into the grocery store and two school-aged boys walked right into my shopping cart and fell on the floor. They were both walking with their heads down, staring at their handheld games. And all you have to do is Google people with iPhones walking into things. 

Go ahead…You’ll have a good laugh.

We live in a very materialistic world. We live in a world where technology at times seems to take priority over people. Instilling gratitude is now more important than ever!

That’s why as parents we need to know how to teach our kids gratitude.

Free printable Gratitude Journal for kids pdf pages shown printed on white background with journaling pens
Let’s practice gratitude with these gratitude prompts.

Related: Download & Print our Gratitude Journal for Kids

How To Teach Gratitude (For Kids)

The most creative and inspiring idea from my cousin Jill was her one simple tip to raise grateful children. This awesome tip helped me learn how to teach kids to be grateful.

It all starts with: hard work, generosity and kindness.

Each month, Jill and the kids would have a Do Good Day

Host a do good day of volunteering with your kids - Kids Activities Blog - 2 kids volunteering in a green area with a recycling bag
One day a month can change their life.

Teaching Gratitude By Hosting A Monthly Do Good Day

First the kids had to do chores to earn money to give away! That was the first tip that blew my mind.

The boys would vacuum, sweep, and take out the garbage and more to earn money to serve others. (That’s right, their allowance was used to serve others, not to self-serve).

After they earned their money, they would spend the remainder of the day serving their community.

One day, I asked her what they were doing for their monthly Do Good Day. 

She smiled back with a happiness inside of her that every parent desires. She paused for a moment and replied:

We are bringing toys to the hospital, dog treats to the humane society, homemade cookies to the local drug and alcohol rehabilitation spot and, best of all, the boys have to do chores to make money and then we are giving it away!


I decided to do this after our oldest lost his bouncy ball and didn’t want to spend any of the EIGHTY dollars in his piggy bank to buy a new one. He wanted me to use MY money.

Time to start earning and sharing! 

Children with trash bags picking up trash outside on a hill
Acts of service can be fun!

What is Gratitude – Learn through serving others

Her kids got so used to serving others and sharing, they started asking for charity donations in lieu of birthday gifts! How amazing is that?

They were so thankful for what they already had, they wanted to give it all back. Her kids felt great and it boosted their self-esteem.

All it took was one day per month to teach gratitude. On top of that, several friends were inspired to do the same with their kids.

Related: Looking for more parenting tips? <–We have over 1000 helpful posts you may enjoy and some that may just make you smile.

Learning to be grateful will make your child smile - child looking at camera and smiling
Let’s practice gratitude!

How to plan your own do good day to Teach Gratitude for Kids

  1. Choose one day per month.
  2. Have your kids do chores to earn money beforehand or the actual day.
  3. Have your kids use their money to buy ingredients to make goods for others or use the money to donate to others in need.
  4. Talk about the experience. What happened, how did you all feel afterward, and how can you serve others better next time? How can you persevere and push forward?
Teaching kids gratitude is important - Kids Activities Blog - child petting cat
Kids can find the cutest blessings in their life…

Teaching Gratitude to Kids FAQs

Why is it important to teach children gratitude?

When kids have a working understanding of gratitude, it changes their perspective of the world. They can see the blessings around them instead of feeling entitled with a scarcity mindset. Concentrating on what they have instead of what they don’t have fills the soul with happiness.

What is the difference between thankfulness and gratitude?

“The Oxford Dictionary defines the word grateful as “showing an appreciation of kindness.” This is where the difference lies; being thankful is a feeling, and being grateful is an action.”

How do you teach children to express gratitude?

We have talked about several ways to teach kids to express gratitude in this article, but the most important aspect of expressing gratitude is consistent practice so it becomes second nature!

How do you develop gratitude?

Gratitude is something that can be developed and expanded in your life. There are a few simple steps to maximizing your feelings of thankfulness and appreciation:
1. Be mindful and aware of the things you have in your life that are positive.
2. Note these positive things! Keep a gratitude journal or use a gratitude app to help record the things you have to be thankful for.
3. Express thanks and appreciation out loud.
4. Repeat!

What is the difference between thankful and grateful?

The words thankful and grateful both express appreciation for something, however there is a subtle difference between the words. The word “thankful” implies that you are acknowledging a specific situation or event, whereas the word “grateful” goes deeper and expresses an overall feeling of thankfulness for all the good things in life.


More to See:

How are you teaching your kids to be grateful? Does your family have a tradition like do good day?

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  1. These are some great ways to help parents build a habit of gratitude for kids. I especially love the “do good day” idea!

    1. Absolutely! It’s amazing… the impact that positivity and gratitude can have on life in general!

  2. We’re still learning thankfulness over here with my kids. So I appreciate the tips. I want my kids to grow up grateful for the opportunities they have.

  3. I was looking for an easy and meaningful activity having to do with gratitude for kids, and I can’t wait to try the gratitude journal with my daughter! Thank you!