Thanksgiving is approaching quickly and is a time to be thankful for the advantages we have in our daily lives. To many adults, this comes easily, even naturally. Children, on the other hand, may have a harder time understanding the meaning behind being thankful. There are a few behaviors you can instill in them to help them understand gratitude, and a few fun activities to do around Thanksgiving that will reinforce the idea.
Hold Regular “Gratitude Meetings” Together
Making a list of things you’re grateful for is an effective way to unwind and de-stress. For adults, it helps to ground us and let in a little happiness. For children, it helps them understand that they should be happy for what they already have even when things don’t always go their way. Start a weekly or monthly gratitude “meeting” with your kids. Ask them what they are grateful for that day, whether it’s a gift they received, an event that occurred, or something else.
Gratefulness Goes Beyond Gifts
Teach your children that gratefulness is about more than just material possessions. For a child, it’s hard to understand why they should feel thankful for non-material things, so it’s up to you to take them out of this mindset. Your child could be grateful for their wonderful circle of friends, or for a snow day that got them out of school. Likewise, children should understand that material gifts are a gesture and not something they’re entitled to. Of course, teaching that it’s the “thought that counts” is easier said than done. Try pointing out moments when your children should be feeling gratitude; for example, if a friend shares part of their lunch.
Thanksgiving Gratitude Activities
Now that Thanksgiving is here, it’s an opportune time to take part in some thanks-giving activities with your kids. The following crafts are a fun way to reinforce thankful behavior:
The Tree of Gratitude: Create a tree out of cardboard or construction paper. Your children write down what they’re thankful for on the leaves and hang them from the tree. Try to give the tree as many leaves as possible!
The Thank You ABC’s: Ask your children to name something they’re grateful for starting with each letter of the alphabet. Whoever can come up with something for every letter is the winner.
The Gratitude Jar: Decorate an old jar with your children. Each day, your children can fill it with notes about what made them grateful. When the jar is full, go back through the notes and have fun remembering the month together.
We are sincerely thankful for all of our patients and their families! We hope these fun ideas help fill your Thanksgiving holiday with a little more gratitude and love!