Friday, November 14, 2014

Tips for Teaching Kids to be Thankful

Thanksgiving is just around the corner; I can already smell the pumpkin pie, turkey and stuffing! Thanksgiving is such a wonderful time of the year to remember what we have to be thankful for and reflect on what that very first Thanksgiving was about.

Thanksgiving is a special holiday for all us; it’s a time to get together with family, give thanks and have a large feast.  Things haven’t changed that much since 1621 after the pilgrim’s first harvest. They did the same thing: joining all as one, thankful for each other and had a grand feast.

The Thanksgiving season is a great time to teach young children what it means to be thankful. It’s always great to talk about that first Thanksgiving, but I think an easier concept for young children to grasp the meaning of “Thankful”. It’s a great time to start the conversation of what we have to be thankful for. Every night right before bed, my daughter and I have some special mommy-daughter time. We read a story and then I ask her to tell me 5 things she is thankful for.  It’s important to me that she learns to be thankful, not just learning to say thank you, but to also understand that she is fortunate for everything she has.

Here are a few other ideas for how to teach children gratitude:

Encourage and Demonstrate Generosity
     We often donate clothes, food and toys to less fortunate families. By showing how to give and talking about how some kids don’t have very much; it inspires kids to give back too. Kids are more likely to appreciate what they have knowing that not everyone is so fortunate.

Give kids jobs to help out.
     By participating in activities, children understand the effort that goes into jobs. When I give my little one a job, something as simple as stirring the pancake batter, she feels more appreciative of when I make breakfast for her. 

Write Thank You notes
     Writing thank you cards for gifts helps children verbalize why they are thankful for a gift which makes them appreciate the gift even more.  When my little one was younger, she would just draw scribbles or I had her paint a picture and I would attach my own thank you note. As she gets older, she’s able to tell me why she is thankful for the gift and we write the thank you notes together. She still loves to paint or draw pictures for them too. 

How do you teach your children about being thankful? I’d love to hear your tips too!