Last year, I wrote a post about raising grateful children and it has far been one of my most popular posts. I think because the picture was just so cute.

But, seriously, apparently, none of us want to raise ungrateful children.

This topic continues to be a source of endless material for me as I remain on my quest to raise kind children who are not only aware of the abundance in their lives but have a great understanding of the world around them. Character building is constantly a conversation in our home. Plus, I teach mothers to live a life of gratitude themselves so this fits in nicely with what I focus on all year long.

What I know about children is this … they can be selfish.

This is a good thing.

We want our children to look out for themselves, to fight for what they want and aspire for the best.

But we don’t want them to do it all without thinking of others …

So, here are some news ideas my family has collected — and implemented — over the last year to attempt to raise children who appreciate the beauty and world around them rather than always wanting more, more, more. {The exception here being shoes. We’ve cured them of all their wants except shoes. I’ll happily take suggestions on how to prevent wear and tear and plain dislike/discomfort on kids shoes!}

thankful

Secret helpers — This is a fun little game that can be a challenge to set up but once you do it, it’s a fun way to encourage kindness. Draw names (may take a few tries before you don’t get your own name) and then encourage each other to do kind things for that person. A week later, try to guess who was doing the good deeds.

Help the neighbors — Anything you can do to offer help to your neighbors not only shows your child what kindness does, it also builds community around your own home. This is just good people business. In the summer, have the kids make paper fans and take it to the elderly residents in your community to bring a smile to their faces. Or, in the winter, bring them hot cocoa already made with some cookies.

Talk about kindness — Talk about the importance of helping others who have less than you do. Make it a family goal to do something kind for others. And then follow through with it. Talk about what it means to need things but that just because you need food or shelter doesn’t mean you aren’t a happy person. Things do not change how we feel. Not one bit.

Take a Gratitude Walk — This is a slow, intentional walk with the only purpose being to really look around and appreciate everything you see. Name it all. Keep a list if you wish. Ask the kids to take pictures of what they are grateful for in their own yard or around the neighborhood. Do this weekly or monthly yourself, too.

Make it a Game — Play a game that gets everyone thinking about what invention they are most happy to have around right now. It can be anything from your favorite food to a video game to an umbrella that kept you from getting drenched in a downpour. Get the whole family thinking about this idea of who makes our things.

discuss: How do you try to instill an attitude of gratitude in your children? I’d love to hear your ideas.

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