Finding ways to grumble and complain is easy. Choosing to look for ways to express gratitude can seem like one of those dreaded last chance workouts on the hit series, The Biggest Loser. And for kids, giving thanks in all things can be like eating their peas before the can enjoy dessert!
So parents, how do we help our kids express everyday gratitude? Here are a few practical, fun projects and ideas you might like to try with your family:
1. The “Sonbeam” Project
Have your kids grab a piece of paper and some crayons. Next, have them draw a circle in the middle of the paper. In the center of the circle, have them write “I am grateful for”. Next, have them draw lines out from the circle, similar to sun beams. Take turns talking about what you are grateful for and writing them on the lines. This is called the “Sonbeam” project because when we are grateful, The Son (Jesus) gives us a cheery and happy disposition.
2. The Water Faucet Game
Gather your children in the kitchen and the bathroom (you know, the place you are always trying to get them to not make a mess); this time, let them play. Get a bowl full of water and let each one take turns filling the cup and pouring it out in the sink. Feel the way the water turns warm, then cold. Talk about what you would do if you didn’t have water to drink out of a faucet, or water to bathe with? Take time to pray and thank God, right there, for the simple blessing of running water.
3. Friendship Talk
Talk with your children about some of their closest friends. What makes them such a great friend? How does the gift of friendship make their life more special and meaningful? Take time to thank God together for the wonderful gift that friends are.
4. The Gift of Literature
The ability God gives us to learn how to read and grow from literature is sometimes the thing taken most for granted. Reading God’s Word is an amazing blessing to thank the Lord for. Also, reading books that point us to Jesus and knowing Him better are wonderful assets and tools! Consider Max Lucado’s picture books for children in the Hermie series, Thank you, God, for Loving Me (read here) and Thank you, God, for Blessing Me (read here), which are on sale now!
5. Public Worship
Discuss the fact that around the world, people are being hurt and threatened for speaking up about their relationship with Jesus. Thank God together as a family for the freedom you have to go to church and worship Him freely.
6. Make A Gratitude Board
Put up a cork board in a central location of your house and label it “gratitude board”. Leave some Post-its and tacks near the board and have your family leave things they are thankful for on the board throughout the day.
Hands-on activities are a wonderful way to bond with the hearts of your children. I hope you’ll take the time to try even just a few of these with your kids!
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We want to hear from YOU. What’s one simple idea you have to begin helping kids express everyday gratitude? Leave your comments on our blog!