How do I raise grateful kids?

It’s a question many parents think about.

I know I do.

As a mom, one of the things that’s most important to me is raising kids who are thankful for what they have, and out of that thankfulness, want to help others.

So when I received a copy of Susie Larson’s book, Growing Grateful Kids, I was excited.

As my son and daughter have gotten older (they are 9 and 11 now), we’ve had plenty of opportunities to talk about want vs. need (“But, Mom, I have to have that”), about thinking and planning before we buy something (“I’ll pay you later, Mom”), about appreciating what we already have (“But, that one’s better“), and about going without (“But, I really want it”).


In spite of the conversations and opportunities, I still sometimes struggle with finding ways to help them have / keep grateful attitudes as they grow.

And having a grateful attitude myself.

Which is one of the reasons I loved this book so much. Like it says on the back cover, “As a parent you cannot impart what you do not possess… growing grateful kids means learning to be a grateful parent.”

The book is filled with practical tips and heartwarming stories that made me laugh and cry… and inspired me a lot. 

Stories like this…

One night, when our kids were still quite young, I sat on the edge of Jake’s bed and listened in amazement as he prayed a passionate prayer:  “I thank You, God, for my new bunk beds and my dinosaur bedspread and my bright new walls and my cool new poster. I love them so much.” He squeezed his eyes shut as he prayed.

My eyes were wide open. I looked around at the beige walls in deep need of paint. I glanced down at his old, worn bed and bedspread. Both were hand-me-downs. No posters decorated the walls; no dinosaurs brought life to his room. This was a tough time for us, and, though I knew of Jake’s deep desire for a fresh, new bedroom, I couldn’t even image providing one for him.

But our situation didn’t seem to affect our son’s prayers one singe bit.

Jacob saw the sad question on my face and yet confidently replied, “It’s okay, Mom. I just know that I’m going to love those things when I get them, so I decided to get a head start on thanking God.” (excerpt written by Susie Larson, Growing Grateful Kids, used with permission)

If that isn’t a great reminder of a thankful perspective, I don’t know what is. And the book is filled with many more like it. I can’t count all the times I paused when I was reading to reflect on all that I have to be thankful for, and all the ways God has worked in my life, even when I didn’t know He was.

Broken down into four sections: Model Thankfulness, Teach Perspective, Encourage Faith, and Live Abundantly, the book gives many tips and suggestions on how to teach patience, perspective, and gratitude to our kids.

If you’re interested in having a more grateful perspective in life and raising kids who do too, you’ll love this book.

I know I did. :)

What about you? How have you encouraged your kids to grateful? Take a minute and share your tips and stories!

*Disclaimer: This is not a paid review, though I did receive a copy of the book to read.


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  1. Thanks for the book recommendation. Hubs and I have been talking about this a lot lately. Our boys and 4 and 7 and I can see the beginnings of the opposite of gratitude forming. It's definitely something that requires intentional teaching; it won't happen on its own.Might be a good summer project.:) Mary

  2. I will have to check this book out! My kids are still young, but one of the things we taught them from the time they could speak, was to say thank you for everything. Not just the gifts, but for little things as well-such as somebody holding a door for us. We told them to look at everything as a gift. In my opinion, gratefulness goes hand-in-hand with politeness and manners, and they are the most important things on my list of things that my kids need to know!

  3. This book looks fantastic!!! I loved the excerpt, and cant wait to get this!!Blessings-Amanda

  4. I love the thought, "you cannot teach what you do not impart." I have been thinking about that a lot!So glad you liked the book – thanks for the review!!Megan

  5. Thanks for sharing, everyone. And, Megan, I've been thinking a lot about it too. :)Loved the book,Genny

  6. Thanks for writing about this! "You cannot impart what you do not possess" is such clear way to put it that we need to BE what we teach our kids. My question is, what if we're imperfect in our gratitude?

  7. Sounds like a good book. This is something that we talk about a lot. I guess since I can be a slow learner in this area sometimes, I shouldn't expect my kids to be any different…though sometimes they can have much better attitudes than us adults!

  8. Great post and review. I was so convicted by that quote from the back of the book that you cited b/c I struggle often to have a heart of gratitude, and I think my kids pick up on that!

  9. Following you from FFF on MBC :-)You can find me here~

  10. Jo

    I had to laugh at the "wants" and "needs". My 22 year old son is always saying he "needs" something and it isn't that expensive. And I remind him that it is indeed expensive (which is why he has no money) and does he really need another computer game when his jeans are falling apart!!

  11. We struggle with this too. I often point out to them when they complain how much more they have, than other kids. That doesn't seem to work though. Maybe it does…sometimes my 10 year old will point out to a younger sibling how they are being ungrateful, however he himself doesn't practice it too often. Thanks for stopping over at my place. You guessed it! "Fridge buffet" is a creative way of saying we are having leftovers!

  12. My girls are still very small, but I think the very best way is through EXAMPLE. If I am content and joyful, I notice immediately that they pick up on my demeanor. :)

  13. What a great post, this book will definitely be next on my reading list. :)

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