"The storms of life come to everyone — there is no greener grass.  Don't be surprised when trouble comes along — just be ready!" — Karen Jensen

At this time of year it seems like the whole world is conspiring to turn our kids into “gimmie” monsters, am I right?

What a great opportunity to teach them instead to be grateful! We can help them adopt an attitude of gratitude that lasts all year long.

Gratitude is scriptural. First Chronicles 16:34 says, “Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; his love endures forever.” Besides that, gratitude is healthy! Studies show that people who cultivate gratitude are happier themselves, and that kids who practice thankfulness have more positive attitudes toward school and family.

Here are 6 ideas for helping our kids develop an attitude of gratitude:

 1. Express your own gratitude. Tell them why you’re thankful for them! It’s one thing to love your kids, but when you tell them what makes them special to you, their self-esteem is boosted for all the right reasons, and they learn to express their gratitude by example.

2. Hold back on the “stuff.” Of course we to want to give our kids the best, but if we buy them everything they want (and then some) they can end up having so much stuff, they don’t appreciate any of it. They just keep wanting more, without being thankful for anything. As gift-giving season approaches, if you’re having trouble with the “gimmies” here are 5 ways to raise a thankful child

3. Focus on blessings. Take time together every day to share what you’re all thankful for. My husband and I do this when we pray before bed. It’s a daily tradition can help develop a positive frame of mind. Older kids might even want to keep a “thankfulness” journal and write down a few things they’re thankful for each day.

4. Say “thank you.” There are endless ways every day for us to model gratitude for our kids — thanking our waitress, the cashier at the grocery store, or the teller at the bank.. When our kids see us expressing sincere thanks all the time, they’ll be more inclined to do it too.

5. Reach out to others. Acts 20:35 says “It’s more blessed to give than to receive.” Teaching kids to help others can cultivate gratefulness. When they rake leaves for an elderly neighbor or volunteer at a nursing home a few hours a week, they’re less likely to take things like health, home and family for granted.

6. Teach them to write thank you notes. In today’s day and age, handwritten thank-you notes seem to be a dying art. But what a great way for kids to express gratitude — and as an added bonus, it can make the recipient’s day! Here are 5 tips for teaching kids how to write thank you notes.

For more parenting help, check out my “Parenting With a Purpose” products on my website.