Tips on Teaching Gratitude To Toddlers

Girl With Flower

We walk down the isles of our local supermarket and I’m plagued with innocent but constant “Momma, can I have that?” Sometimes it’s cereal or fruit. Other times it’s an ice pack with her favorite character, a new shirt, a toy, a pack of candy. She ask the question politely, stating the reason for her admiration. At times she is insistent but she isn’t whining, it’s her way. If the questions came occasionally I wouldn’t think twice about them but lately it’s with increasing frequency. At three and a half she is spoiled but not rotten. She is grateful in the way sweet little girls are. She cherishes her toys, each one is special, each one has a story. She can name the person who bought each book in the overflowing shelf, each article of clothing spilling out of the dresser, each toy in the box that will not shut. But it isn’t enough, it’s never enough. 

The “I wants” and “I needs” spring forth from commercials, catalogs, cartoons and shopping trips. Partly it is our own doing. Partly it is the nature of children to want. Inspired by the Mars Healthy Living site, I devised a game plan to begin instilling the quality of gratefulness into my toddler.

Continue this story here.

I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls Collective and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.

37 thoughts on “Tips on Teaching Gratitude To Toddlers”

  1. We’re very careful to teach the kids about giving, sharing, and gratitude all year long, but especially during the holidays.

    I enjoyed your post.

    Reply
  2. This is such a great post. I think a good thing is giving to others. Learning that will help with the gratitude when a gift is received. Sounds like you are doing an amazing job teaching her.

    Reply
  3. Great post. Gratitude is one of those lessons that is so important, and so often forgot. We try to model it, so our kids learn naturally, but there are days when we have to point out their less than grateful attitudes. :/

    Reply
  4. Gratitude is an important lesson. It is one that we must teach our children when they are young because they need it all their lives.

    Reply
  5. It is so important to teach gratitude to young kids so that they practice it throughout their entire lives. Your tips are great – especially “talk the talk”. I believe that our kids learn the most by our example!

    Reply
  6. I think it starts out innocent enough, with kids not really understanding why they can’t have it all. It’s up to us as parents to teach that balance.

    Reply
  7. simple thank yous and your welcomes are so important,. i like to teach my kids the importance of being gracious to others as well as us.

    Reply
  8. I have been trying with my own toddler. She’s at that stage now where she wants everything. I have learned to say no and be firm with it as well.

    Reply
  9. I think as parents we want our children to have more than we had and sometimes if we don’t take out the time to explain gratitude it can get lost in translation. I try my best to explain to my children that the extras we give them are because we want them to have it not that it is a necessity. It is a constant struggle trying to get my children to understand, but consistency is key.

    Reply
  10. These are all great ideas. My 3 year old is getting into “I want it…NOW” stage and we are working hard to teach him thankfulness and gratitude. He does great saying please and thank you.

    Reply
  11. I think it’s easier for some kids to learn than others. It’s also one of those things we have to model for it to really sink in.

    Reply
  12. Teaching about gratitude is sometimes hard to do with the younger set. We encourage our children to be charitable whenever possible so they can see that there are others less fortunate than they are.

    Reply
  13. We’re still working on wants/needs, but at least “thank you welcome” comes out of his mouth everytime he receives something!

    Reply
  14. We also try to teach our children to give to others. My kids are a tad spoiled at times and I encourage them to give things they no longer want to kids that would love to get use out of it.

    Reply
  15. My son asks, but he’s very humble and grateful. One of my proudest moments of my 7 yr old is when we go to birthday parties and while all the kids are pouting and saying “I want that.. lemme see it”he says, “Wow that’s a cool toy, you’re gonna have so much fun with that!” He’s always been that way.
    Now the 2 yr old… he’s a different bird. LOL To be continued.. LOL

    Reply
  16. It’s very easy to spoil kids. Especially bloggers w swag and review things. We work hard to model gratitude and not spoiling the kids.

    Reply
  17. This is a problem that my sister-in-law and my mother are currently having with my niece. My sister has tried to tell them both the tips that you gave but neither of them can hold to it! And boy she is spoiled ROTTEN I tell you!

    Reply
  18. I have tried to take my son where he can actually see people who don’t have anything to eat. We usually buy food for people who don’t have anything to eat. And he loves to help out kids who go hungry. It has helped a lot to make him understand that things don’t just fall from heaven.

    Reply
    • That is a really good idea! My daughter had a friend who’s mom was going through a really hard time after losing her job, and when she went over to study, they had NO food in the fridge. My daughter was so upset by it that we bought them some gift cards to the grocery store.

      Reply
  19. These are great tips. My son is also so spoiled and he is want, want, want but I have to remind myself that he knows no better and it’s how I’ve raised him so far. I’m trying to be better.

    Reply
  20. I really need to send this to my little sister – she has two toddlers! We all struggle with topics like this because everyone else in the family is so out of practice with little ones!

    Reply
  21. Whenever my girls are begging for something or staying that something “isn’t fair” I always tell them they can be grateful for what they have or grumble for what they don’t have. Sometimes it works and sometimes not.

    Reply
  22. I think it is just natural for a kid to want what they see…. heck, if I see some cool gadget on TV I want it too. I think we eventually learn we can’t have everything.

    Reply
  23. I agree, saying “no” is so important. When they have too much of something is when it gets worse. Those with few, tend to really appreciate what they have.

    Reply
  24. I think giving to others is a big one. When they see that you give to other kids, I think it makes them appreciate what they have even more.

    Reply

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.