This time of year is all about counting your blessings and doing your part to help others. We celebrate Thanksgiving each year with our family and while the holiday is a joyous time to enjoy delicious food with the company of our loved ones, we should also take some time to remind our children about why we celebrate the holiday and all the things we have to be grateful for. It’s not always easy for little ones to understand, but sometimes actions speak louder than words. Here are some ideas for teaching your kids about gratitude over the holidays.
- Give thanks at the table
During your Thanksgiving dinner this year, have every guest at the table say one thing that they are thankful for. You can say you’re thankful for the food on the table, for having a safe and warm place to live, for your family’s health, etc. Your little ones will start to understand and eventually you can make a habit of always giving thanks for the food on your table every day.
- Always say thank you
Kids will always look up to their parents and emulate their actions, so when you say thank you, it sets an example for them to follow. When someone holds the door open for you, offers you a seat on the bus, lets you cut in front of them in line, remember to always say thank you, especially when your kids are with you. The time will come when they will do the same.
- Make a Thankful tree
This is a fun art project for your kids that will also teach them a valuable lesson. You can help them cut out a tree from construction paper or cardboard and decorate it with different colored leaves. On each of the leaves, they must write down one thing they are thankful for. Invite the whole family and all of your Thanksgiving guests to grab a leaf, write down something they are thankful for, and glue it on the tree. Soon you will have a beautiful tree overflowing with leaves.
This is a popular time of year for families to do some community service and volunteer to help out those less fortunate. A soup kitchen is a fantastic place to volunteer because you can donate canned goods or even cook up a special dish and your children can even help to serve the hungry. Meeting and getting to speak with people who don’t have everything your family does will put things into perspective for your kids. They may even ask to make this a yearly tradition!
If you don’t have the time to volunteer, you can always help by donating to those in needs. Many organizations and charities accept donations of all kinds from gently used clothing and toys, to toiletries, books, canned goods, and more. You can ask your kids to donate any toys that they no longer play with or even pick out one new toy to give to a child in need.
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