ensuring success in children age 0-5 in hardin and marshall county, iowa

Early childhood blog

Raising Grateful Children

In this season of thanksgiving and gratitude, we are reminded that gratitude comes from within. Our children are never “too young” to learn gratitude. Here is what you can do to nurture gratitude in children.

Zero To Three, an early childhood resource organization, writes:

  • Show appreciation to your children by slowing down and observing them closely. You’ll see things you appreciate about your kids—then tell them! Sharing appreciation is stronger than praise as it builds the connection between parent and child. 
  • Show appreciation for others. Children are watching and learning from your words and actions. They notice how you treat others. You set a great example when you model kindness, generosity, and gratefulness in your own everyday interactions.
  • Use the word “grateful.” Children need to learn what this new word means. Explain that being grateful is noticing something in your life that makes you happy, even if it is small or simple. Your enthusiasm will be contagious.
  • Make a Thankful Christmas Tree. Cut a Christmas Tree construction paper. Tape to a wall or window and cut out some ornaments. Ask your child to think of something they are thankful for and write it on the ornament. Then tape the leaf to the tree. Add your own “thankful things.” Have your child ask family members what they’re are grateful for and add them to the tree.
  • Share stories of thankfulness, gratitude, and generosity. Visit your local library and ask them for children’s books that are themed around gratitude.
  • Share “Roses and Thorns.” Even young children can talk about what went well (roses) and what was hard about each day (thorns). It gives them, and you too, a chance to vent frustration and focus on what is good in life. My son and I talk about “bumps and blessings”, fostered around the idea that with every “bump”, God gives you three blessings and then we list them.
  • Talk openly about donations and other “good deeds.” Look to local churches that have giving trees or community events aimed at helping families in need. Donating time to help is just as valuable as donating gifts. As children grow up, they will eventually see that helping and giving are part of your family’s culture.


As your child’s first teacher, growing feelings of gratitude in your children and yourself can foster healthy family relationships. It will require practice but eventually become part of your routine. 

Happy Holidays!

Carrie Kube
Iowa River Valley Early Childhood Area Director
iarivervalleyeca@gmail.com
www.iowarivervalleyeca.com
Facebook and Instagram: @irveca


Disclosure: Carrie Kube is a Director for the Iowa River Valley Early Childhood Area Board.  All thoughts and opinions expressed are that of the author and not the Board and/or its community partners.

Source: www.zerotothree.org