Thankfulness: Teaching by Example

I am thankful for my kids and I want to be sure they know that.

So often I get caught up in teaching by correcting, reminding my children to sit still, get their homework done without being distracted, stop talking and the like.

With all of this correction going on, sometimes I wonder if I need to do more teaching by example.

This month, instead of teaching my children thankfulness by asking them to tell me what they are thankful for, I am going to try my best to let them know each and every day that I am thankful for them and their efforts.

I might give my daughter a super-big smile as I thank her for being a ray of sunshine in our morning routine. I might arrange for a ‘date’ with my older son at the library when he can pick out books un-rushed as I thank him for being such an avid reader. Perhaps I’ll learn a few jokes and share them with my silly middle guy who has a sillier sense of humor than I do.

Showing I am thankful for them doesn’t mean I need to go over the top and do things that require extra effort every day or even every week, though.

I’ll also do simple things like making a point to just say “thank you for being you,” more often or “thank you for doing as I asked,” when they follow instructions.

I wonder what all of this thankfulness directed toward them will do for their self-esteem and their attitude. And I wonder how it will impact their actions.

I’m also keeping a numbered sheet of paper for each of them and writing something I am thankful for about them for each day of this month. Then, at the end of the month, I’ll give them my list for the 30 days so they can reflect on it and be reminded of some of the ways I am thankful for them. Or maybe I’ll keep the lists going through Christmas and wrap them up as Christmas gifts.

My hope is that this little exercise will teach my children how to express thankfulness and love as they see me modeling that behavior. I have a feeling much more will be accomplished at the end of the month than just that, though.

How do you express thankfulness toward your children? I’d love to read some of your ideas so I can use them, too.

If you’d like to join me in this thankfulness exercise, feel free to join in anytime. If you let me know you’re in right here in the comments, I’ll pray for your commitment to the exercise.


Amy is the Mom behind both Mom’s Toolbox and Mom’s Travel Tales. She is a world traveler — in heart, body, and prayer and enjoys sharing her experiences with others. She regularly hosts the Bible in 90 Days read-along. A mother of three young children, Amy writes to equip moms with tools for success whether at home, abroad or in between.