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“Thank you, Mommy!” We know how great it feels when our kids remember to say thank you completely unprompted. Although, we likely still remind them to say ‘thank you’ many many other times throughout the day. 🙂

Feeling thankful and expressing our thanks naturally makes us feel good. From a young age, we can instill gratitude in our children. And, we might be surprised to find ourselves feeling grateful along the way.

Mini-Ways to Instill Gratitude in Toddlers & Preschoolers

4 Ways to Instill Gratitude in Toddlers and Preschoolers

Clean out toys, books & clothes

Take time to clean out your toys, books, and even clothes — and get your kids involved! We detail how to revive toys and make them feel new again here.

Sort through your gently used items and decide what could move on to a new home. Explain this to your kids that other little boys and girls will want to play with their things or wear their outgrown clothes and that it’s good to help others. This may be challenging to do with a toddler or preschooler as they may not want to get rid of anything they have, but involving them in the process will help them to be thankful for what they have and know that they are helping others, too. And you may just have to finish the process at naptime.

Help family or friends with chores

Even young kids can help with chores and household tasks! Maybe the towels won’t be folded perfectly, but you can certainly encourage them to try. Ask them to sort socks, or pick up their toys. We’ve shared some strategies to get kids involved in this post.

Help them to understand that as a team everyone works together to help make a home run smoothly and we can all be thankful for the things we have by taking care of them.

Look at pictures from your bucket list

Enjoy looking at pictures of all the fun experiences you’ve had this year, and be thankful for all you’ve done! Look back at your bucket list and talk about all the fun things you did.

This is also a great time to start adding ideas to your list for next year. When creating your bucket list, you can think about ideas you could ask for as gifts. A Little Sprouts membership or gift card, zoo pass, or other experiences you have on your bucket list make great gift ideas that create lasting memories.


Volunteering with your kids is a great way to encourage them to feel gratitude. We chatted with Jean, one of the founders of Toddlers and Kids on a Mission (TOAM) – a local non-profit volunteer agency right here in Milwaukee.

Jean shared that volunteering is a lifelong learning experience that benefits children and adults of all ages and that volunteering helps children find their passions. Check out all the great opportunities to volunteer as a family on the TOAM website.

Expressing thanks comes in many forms

We can teach our kids to be thankful in many ways.

We can donate our gently used toys and clothes to those who need them. Helping with chores shows we’re grateful for our home and family. Verbally expressing thanks for experiences, opportunities, and memories is a beautiful way to appreciate what we have. And, through volunteer work, we can give back to those around us and share our time and talents.

We want our children to say “thank you” and truly feel the meaning behind it. Do you feel inspired to express your gratitude to someone today?

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