In November, we often share something we are thankful for as we approach the Thanksgiving holiday.
Expressing gratitude makes us feel happier and more aware. The value of gratitude is endless, and if we teach our children the benefits of gratitude while they’re young, they’ are more likely to reap the rewards throughout their lives.
Look over these gratitude activities – these will help cultivate an “attitude of gratitude” in your little ones.
- Create a family gratitude book. Each member of the family should add photos, notes, drawings, and mementos - anything they feel grateful for. It’s a good idea to keep it visible and add to it regularly, like once a month at a family meeting.
- This is an adorable wreath the little one to make! This thankful turkey wreath is easy and festive. Just write what your kids are grateful for on the feathers.
- Keep a gratitude jar on the kitchen table. Let the kids decorate it with fall stickers or leaves. Each day ask everyone to write down one thing they’re thankful for and put it in the jar. You can help preschoolers by writing down their thoughts.
- Add the gratitude circle into your bedtime routine. Have the family sit in a circle and tell something they’re grateful for.
- Say grace before meals. A simple yet often overlooked gratitude practice, saying grace before we eat is a small way to teach kids to be thankful. Even if you’re not religious, here are some secular examples to give thanks.
- Make a gratitude paper chain. Each day leading up to Thanksgiving, add one strip per family member to the chain. You should have a nice, long chain to decorate with on Thanksgiving Day.
- Buy a jar and dig a hole! It’s time to make a Thanksgiving time capsule. Just write what everyone is thankful for on strips of paper, roll them up and place them in the jar. Bury it in the back yard. Dig it up next Thanksgiving and read what everyone was grateful for last year, and then add new ones to the jar and bury it again.
- Read books about gratitude together. Check out this list from The Best Children's Books.
- Play the “alphabet thanks” game. Have kids pick a letter out of a pile (or just go through the alphabet at random) and ask them to come up with one thing they’re thankful for that starts with that letter.
- Help them make a kids’ gratitude photo album. Hand over the camera and let them take a picture a day for the next 30 days of something they feel thankful for. Print the photos and make an album.
A Great Goal
Most parents want to raise children who appreciate what they have, show responsibility, have a healthy perspective on material possessions, are generous, and think about the needs of others.
Nowadays, bringing up children who feel grateful for – rather than entitled to – what they have is a challenge.
As you strive toward that goal, keep in mind that each parent decides for his family how much is too much and what is enough. What you consider “right” depends on your personal values and what you want to teach your children about “things,” being responsible, and giving and receiving.
At T’s Learning Center, the top-rated childcare provider in Jacksonville, St. Augustine and surrounding areas, the staff encourages the “attitude of gratitude” with each child parents entrust to us.