The numbers are in: most parents do not believe their children are grateful.
According to a 2021 study from C.S. Mott Children's Hospital, 81% of parents say children today are not grateful for what they have, and 76% said it is a high priority to teach their child gratitude.
Researchers spoke to parents with children ages 4-10. Fifty-eight percent are worried that they are giving their children too much, while 42% said they are sometimes embarrassed by their child's selfishness.
"Gratitude is not something that children usually acquire automatically," wrote the study's authors. "It needs to be nurtured in an age-appropriate way."
It's a view shared by child care professionals.
"I also have a 3-year-old, and we've been practicing gratitude with her ever since she was a baby," said Peter Coffin, a child care professional who owns College Nannies + Sitters in Broomfield, Colorado.
"[It's really about] doing those habits, really build that into a routine," said Coffin. "So, it's something they just do, just like brushing your teeth or eating a meal."
Coffin recommends simple acts of gratitude, like teaching your child to say please and thank you.
Almost 9 in 10 parents say their child is already doing that regularly, according to the research from C.S. Mott.
Over time, these small acts of gratitude can build a sense of empathy in children.
"I think better coping mechanisms are such an important aspect and benefit that comes from practicing gratitude," said Coffin.
You can read the full C.S. Mott report here.