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Challenge: Raising Kind Kids

Kindness Is the Overflow of a Thankful Heart {5 Ways to Teach Thanks to Our Kids}

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This week I was in great company with a room of Moms, doing a little talk on teaching our kids to be thankful. Don't we all want to see our kids demonstrate kindness to the world around them?

Having 16 years of mom life under my belt, I can say that kindness flows from a thankful spirit. If we don't take time to express thanks then we can't expect our kids to show kindness!

On my way out the door this week, I stacked a pile of things from home at the front door to use this morning and my husband said after loading the car, “Baby – next time you teach one of these things, instead of bringing the house, just invite them all over!” He’s right, I love to bring my home with me.

I want Moms to know that they don’t have to go buy stuff to create a cozy space and they don’t have to be a Pinterest expert to do an activity with their toddlers. They can also create moments with their teenagers without dropping $100.

Just using everyday items and taking time to talk over some coffee can speak to the heart and may work wonders in ushering in a heart of thanks. Our culture is competing for their hearts and playing a huge role in where they place their confidence. As a parent, we can choose to be there.

Give it a try! If you are in the habit of talking about thanks in your family then this will be easy and fun.

If this is a new endeavor, then jump in and start today. There could be slight awkwardness with your older kids if you've never had this conversation before. I can almost promise you that those big kids need the security and comfort of family just as much - if not more than your little people.

Opening up talks about thanks could be a sweet addition to your relationship and you may see kindness start to develop.


Take a few minutes in the holiday hustle and write down some of the wonders in the life of your family. Use one of these simple ideas with your people to get started.

  1. Home Scavenger Hunt: Make a list with your toddlers of 10 things in their home that they love. Use that list as a scavenger hunt that day, or spread it out the whole week. Have your kids run and find the things on the list and display them somewhere special. If they love it, do it every day!
  2. Picture Memory Lists: Have your older kids of any age pull out the picture books, trail maps, or Insta feed from family vacations or years past. Have them scroll or flip through memories and make a list of their top 10 favorites to be thankful for.
  3. Nature Collection Jars: If you have a nature lover who happens to collect everything on every walk you’ve ever taken.. display their collections of feathers, acorns, rocks, shells, cotton, sand, and sticks in jars. Set them out during Thanksgiving week!
  4. Sidewalk Chalk Thanks: Spend the weeks outside time filling the driveway with thankful drawings and words. This will not work for my Alaskan friends who have snow already – but y’all can do dry erase on the bathroom mirror!
  5. Thankful Tags: You can use shipping tags for this or sticky notes! Go around the house and label the things you need and love with a few words of thanks.

Maybe this season can be one where we find a little more contentment with our own lives first. Our kids will catch on to thankfulness if they see us recognizing gifts and taking time to write down wonders. Out of the overflow of a heart that gives thanks, we can find kindness in the lives of our kids.

~ Jenny

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