5 Ways to Teach Children Gratitude


There’s nothing more powerful in changing our lives than having an attitude of gratitude. But in today’s society, it is SOOOO easy to overwhelmed with wants, efficiency, and discontent. I love November because of Thanksgiving, but if you are like me, I don’t want November to be the only month my kids show thankfulness. You too?

So here are 5 simple ways you can teach your children how to have a heart of thankfulness. I mean after all, those who are more thankful and content have an overall more satisfied and happier life (there’s tons of research out regarding how it effects so many areas of life like self-esteem, optimism, etc. Go check it out!)… And isn’t that what we want most for our children?

Daily Gratitude

This one is SO simple and something I try to practice myself. Each day as I tuck my ids away to bed (or even periodically throughout the day), I’ll ask them to name something they are thankful for. Some of the answers are TO DIE FOR cute. Seriously! I think my son is thankful for garbage trucks nearly every day ūüėČ

Encourage Generosity

This past year we’ve been attempting to make major changes in our clutter around the house.¬† As a part of that, we’ve all given away a TON of stuff (Checkout my 5 Steps To Break Free From Clutter if you want to ditch clutter). We encouraged the kids to choose one thing to give away each day. I was actually amazed at how little resistance we experienced from them.¬† They were actually very excited to give to others.

Turn around the No

It’s sometimes so hard to go into a store with my kids because I feel like I get bombarded with the “I need this” or “will you buy me this” questions.¬† I hate using the word no and try to use it sparingly but geesh….shopping can be downright exhausting.¬† A huge focus for us this year is to eliminate ‘stuff’ so that we have more time and space to focus on our relationships.¬† So now, instead of just saying no I remind them of why we are saying no…. so that we have more time and money to spend on things we all enjoy like vacation, trips to the zoo, or Disneyland.¬† The no to the impulse buy becomes now something they are excited about and willingly put the item back on the shelf.¬† Kids crave relationship. And while they would love the latest and greatest toy, they more desire YOU.

Encourage them to Serve Others

I grew up serving people who were homeless or living on the streets and I cannot say enough about how it shaped my view of the world, gratitude, politics, and so much more.¬† Last year our family took coffee and breakfast to people who were homeless the day after Christmas.¬† It was an AMAZING experience for them. But in this stage of life, I just don’t feel it’s practical for us to do on a regular and ongoing basis.¬† So we’ve found other ways to serve.¬† We’ve connected with an amazing organization called Safe Families.¬† It’s given us the opportunity to bring children into our home, love them, and serve them.¬† My kids then have hands on real life, tangible exposure to serving those in need.¬† There are so many ways for families to serve together, whether it be as simple as picking up trash, serving food in a homeless shelter, giving gifts for Operation Christmas Child and others.

Please and Thank You’s

There is some thing so fundamental in manners that can have profound impacts on gratitude.¬† But rather than forcing your kids to say them just out of formality, make them meaningful (this is similar to why I never force my kids to say sorry).¬† When saying something is forced, it loses its value and meaning.¬† A gentle reminder such as “did you say thank you when Maya gave you a flower” reminds kids that even simple actions are something to be grateful for.¬† Just the same, encouraging them to write thank you notes reminds them of how many things in our lives we have to be thankful for.


Do you have any fun ways you teach gratefulness? I’m going to share some of my favorites in the next month and would love to highlight yours! Drop them below or email me renae@renaefieck.com

A letter to my daughter

Letter to my 6 year old daughter.
Today you told me you wanted to kill herself because you were no good and couldn’t do anything. And that your heart was turning black. First off I have no idea where the idea of doing such a thing even came to you. Or why cleaning up your crayons spurred on the meltdown. Something deep in your soul is aching.
So, let me share with you, why I think you would do the world a grave disservice and why I think you’re wrong.
You were made perfect. Every hair on your head, every freckle on your nose. Your life has meaning. You have a purpose. we don’t know what it is, but it’s going to be great. You may have inherited my lack of rhythm but you can swim like a fish. I may get upset with you because of all your crazy concoctions and experiments, but that creativity and imagination may invent something that will save lives some day. Don’t stop. Don’t stop being you.
The world will tell you that you aren’t good enough. They’ll laugh at you. They’ll say that what you’re doing is foolish. But there’s only one you. And you are the only one that can carry out that purpose. Without you, the world will lack.
Use the hate and resistance to fuel your fire and grow in the belief of who you are and who you were created to be. Celebrate you. Celebrate what you can do and work your booty off to conquer your fears. Embrace your failures because it means you are on the path to achieving greatness. Never settle for who the world tells you to be. You were made for greatness dear child. Know it. Believe it. And live it!
And beyond all that…know that you are loved. Loved beyond measure. And nothing can conquer that. 21317808_10214799561207863_2097367113223876268_n

Scrub a Dub Dub, What do you have in the tub?

My husband calls me a hippie. ¬†I don’t think he realized it when we got married (neither did I!) but time as slowly progressed me into a more and more natural person, parent, and professional. ¬†I know I still have lots of areas to improve upon but it’s one slow step at at time (did I mention that we just got a chicken coop!?!? sooo excited! I will blog more about that when we get the process rolling. We bought it off craigslist and have a few things in the next few weeks so chickens probably won’t happen for a few weeks!).

But as a part of this journey, I’ve started trading out chemicals for more natural products. ¬†Our skin is the largest organ of our body and it absorbs whatever we put onto it. I’m picky with our sunscreen (and have a homemade recipe here) and we use coconut oil as a moisturizer 99% of the time. ¬†I’ve been playing with homemade cosmetics (I will share!). But being frugal, I just can’t throw away soaps people give me (aka…I get lots of Bath & Body soaps as gifts). ¬†So when I was given a bar of Believe Soap, I was thrilled to be using something way more natural that didn’t require me to buy soap when we still have some in the shower.


(I meant to take a picture before I started using it but forgot, so here’s a picture from their website).

I got a full bar of Winter Citrus and a couple small samples of Lavender Oatmeal and Refreshing Mint.  So here are my thoughts.

  • 100% vegan (A+)
  • All Natural products, literally the ingredient list was mostly essential oils¬†
  • Handmade

Their website says they even use herbs freshly picked from their garden when possible! And even can custom order soaps for you because they hand make them.

  • They are $5/bar (it’s really not that much!)
  • Safe for the whole family

Because there is nothing toxic and these are natural products, I feel comfortable and safe using it on anyone in my family (do you know what kinds of  toxins are in baby soaps??)

  • Made in California¬†

if you are a Californian, you are supporting local business!–if you aren’t, then you are supporting small business! (A+ for both)

  • Lathers well¬†
  • Scent is pleasant and subtle¬†

Being an OT I am acutely aware that many people are sensitive to smells. This would be the soap for you if you are overwhelmed by many of the scented products. ¬†It smells earthy, pleasant, and is subtle enough that you don’t think you are washing yourself with a slice of orange. ¬†I tend to like things with a little more scent but I know many don’t so it’s a great middle road. ¬†If you are one that likes stronger scents, maybe try one of the other flavors. My guess would be Rosemary & Mint or similar would smell a little more.

  • Long Lasting

I’ve been using the soap for a few weeks now and it really doesn’t look like I’ve made a dent in the size of the bar. I could see it lasting awhile.

  • Can be used on your face, or body

When I tried it on my face, I got a little in my eye and it wasn’t super pleasant but most soap isn’t. So if you use it on your face, just be sure to wash extra carefully

  • Essential oils can promote healing

It’s one thing to wash your body with just soap, but soaps using essential oils can promote healing while you use them.

My overall opinion…

I don’t know if I will order more soap for awhile (I still have lots) but if you are looking for a natural, vegan, handmade, local option, this is a great place to start. ¬†My only preference would be to have a little stronger scent but it gets an A+ from me in all other categories!

Check them out! Have you used Believe Soap??

Instilling an Attitude of Gratefulness

One of the family values we have listed in our household is that of thankfulness and gratefulness. We have been blessed so tremendously and we strive to be thankful for it. ¬†Sometimes I’m discouraged by reading thing when I see others complaining over simplicities when in comparison to much of the world, the lowliest and poorest of America cannot compare. So while we strive for this mentality throughout the year, it’s straight up and present in the month of November! This year one of the women in a mom’s group said her family creates a thankfulness tree, writing things on each leaf in which they are thankful for. ¬†I couldn’t help but steal the idea.

We tried taping it all to our window but unfortunately, they just wouldn’t stick. ¬†Thus I thought I’d glue to paper and it traveled around our house to find a spot that was visible and yet would discontinue falling apart. Therefore the lighting and the picture isn’t fabulous but it gives you the idea. ¬†We each picked a color and we write one thing each day this month (minus a few days we forget to actually do it at dinner time). ¬†I have been amazed by some of the things that have come from Kinsley in regards to her thankfulness. Such as, the first night her response was “Jesus.” ¬†Gosh, how can I top that response! Shouldn’t we all be thankful for Him and in Him all other gratefulness derives.

This is definitely a tradition we will continue year after year. I almost considered saving the tree for memories and seeing how our thankfulness continues to abound but think maybe a picture in the scrapbook will do!  What Thanksgiving/November traditions has your family incorporated?tree (1 of 1)