Every October, Thanksgiving reminds us to be grateful for our blessings, but do our children feel the same way? Nurturing their thankful spirit is important, so here are some fun ways to help your kids learn to give thanks.
A Thanksgiving paper chain
A paper chain can be more than just a classic grade school craft and a decoration! It can also inspire your child to think about all they have to be thankful for. All he or she needs is strips of coloured construction paper, glue or tape and a grateful spirit. Have or help your child write down one thing they are grateful for on each strip of paper, then form the strips into loops, and connect them like a chain. Hang it in a special place where your family gathers, and be sure to have a chat about the meaning of each link.
A gratitude collage
Another fun way to have kids document what they are most thankful for is to create a collage. Children can use pictures, words and phrases cut out from magazines, extra copies of family photos, their own drawings or poems or whatever else they choose to represent their gratitude. This is a great project to work on with your kids, as you can lead by example by making one of your own and discussing the importance of each item in the collage. After the artwork is completed, it can be framed and hung or laminated to make a placemat.
Letters and cards
A handwritten letter or note in a card to a special person is a wonderful way for children to express their appreciation to someone they’re grateful to have in their life. It could be a family member, a teacher or perhaps the babysitter, but whoever the recipient is, they will undoubtedly be moved by the gesture, and your child will reflect on the value of the person to them and to the world. It doesn’t have to be long or complicated; often just a few words written from the heart or a special picture will convey your child’s true feelings.
Helping others is not only a positive way to make a difference in the world, but also a wonderful way to instill gratitude in your child. Simple acts, such having your child pick out a food bank donation from the grocery store, donating their gently used toys to a charitable organization or volunteering as a family to serve meals through a church or community hall, will remind children how lucky and blessed they are. There are many ways a child can show thankfulness by giving back, so take the opportunity to teach your child other ways they can help out others, then have fun working together to make it happen.