Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Teaching Children Gratitude

Our family is very blessed!  Don't get me wrong ~ we have our share of burdens, and heartache has not been a stranger to us, but overall, we are very blessed.  I do not want our daughter to grow up feeling entitled to all that she has.  This is something that weighs heavy on my heart.  I want my daughter to be thankful for what she has and to always give thanks to God.  What I am  learning is that this is a something that I must teach her and model for her.  In the beginning, I admit I thought my efforts were in vain and my words falling on deaf ears.  But I am starting to see the results.  Many mornings when we are leaving for preschool she will say "What a beautiful day God gave us Mommy!"  It warms my heart to hear her acknowledge the blessings around her and, more importantly, give the thanks to God.  However, she is onlt three and a half and there are so many moments when she is selfish and ungrateful. 

I came across a great resource from the blog Bible Fun for Kids and although I absolutely LOVE her idea and her generous free resource, I needed to modify it a little to meet our needs and added Bible verses that were relevant to the page.  One of my favorite pages she created was a page saying "Thank you God for my mouth."  Her child put on lipstick and put kisses all over the paper!  This is just too cute not to do :)  Our daughter LOVED putting lipstick on, although she wasn't quite adept at kissing the paper LOL!  After she kissed the page, we talked about the things she can do with her mouth and I wrote the things she told me.  I also taught her about uplifting people with our words. 

Another page that I thought was great from Bible Fun for Kids was the hand page.  We traced her hand and then we read the book One Hand, Two Hands by Max Lucando:
This book is PERFECT for little ones to learn to appreciate something they take for granted on a adaily basis ~ their hands!  It talks about all the wonderful things you can do with your hands such as hug, help, wash, eat, and pray!  I highly recommend this book!  After we read the book we talked about all the things she can do with her hands I wrote them on the page for her.
We did something similar for the page titled "Thank you God for me and all that I can do!"  We read the book God Gave Us You by Lisa Tawn Bergren: 
This is a delightful story about a mama and papa bear and their little cub who was given to them by God (no real discussion of how the baby gets into the belly ~ so it is perfect for younger ones!)  After reading the book, we wrote down all of things that she can do: count, dance, paint, sing, play, etc...
Another page that is very interactive is the one titled "Thank you God for all the creatures of the earth."  I cut out pictures of animals for her to glue on the page.  For this page, we read another awesome title from Lisa Tawn Bergren ~ God Gave Us the World: 
The prayer page: "Thank you God for hearing my prayers" is not interactive, but I think it is one of the most important pages.  Notice I did not make the title "Thank you God for answering my prayers."  Most children are not mature enough to understand that God is not a giant Santa Claus who will give them everything they want; I certianly don't want my daughter to get the wrong impression when her prayers for incosequential things go unanswered, so that is why I worded it that way.  A great book to read about prayer is This Little Prayer of Mine by Anthony DeStefano.
There are many other pages in this book/journal that I created, but the last one I want to share is the page titled "Thank you God for my clothes" just because it is fun!  Another blogger, Stacy from Share and Remember posted the most adorable project!  Please click on the picture below to go over and read about her Cozy Sweater Collage!  this is what I plan to do for the clothing page!
I hope this FREE Gratitude Book and Journal blesses you are your child(ren) and helps you build up their Gratitude muscles :)  Grab yours by clicking the picture below!

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