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How to Teach Your Child to Have a Thankful Heart

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 As the holiday season comes in full-swing, it's easy to see our inherent selfishness. Who among us has not been guilty of buying things for themselves when they had gone to the store to buy gifts for someone else? It's in our very nature to think of ourselves, so it's no surprise that our children struggle with the same. Here are some special things you can do over this special season to remind your kids to have a grateful heart.

  • Tithe: It's Biblical to give ten percent of our own income to God, but our children need to know and see that we first give our earnings to God. Children learn by example more than words, so if they see you making that choice, week after week, they will remember what your priorities are. Additionally, you can use it as a conversation with them about giving ten percent of their weekly allowance as well.
  • Operation Christmas Child: a ministry of Samaritan's purse, each year they collect shoeboxes full of toys to children in need that have been donated from families like yours. From 1993, they have delivered over 157 million shoeboxes! It's an excellent opportunity to remind your child of those who have less, and have them help fill a shoebox for someone whose needs are greater than their own. At TCCS, secondary students even receive extra credit from their Bible teachers for participating in Operation Christmas Child.
  • Volunteer: Helping out with non-profits is something that's valuable year-round, but many programs are busiest around the holidays. Taking your child to help at a food kitchen or homeless shelter is also a good way to lead by example and to show your child how blessed they truly are. Not sure what opportunities are out there? Check out HandsOn San Diego or Volunteer Match.
  • Write thank you cards: The art of writing a thank you note seems to have been lost to the ages, which is why it makes such an impression to receive one these days. A good activity for Thanksgiving break would be to create a list of people who they would like to thank, and write personal thank you notes to each person.


Depending on your child's age and development, there are many ways to teach them to have a grateful heart. It is, after all, the gift that Christ gave us, that we deserved the least.

Ephesians 2:8 For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God.

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