In our household, like many others with children, Thanksgiving seems to get a little lost between Halloween and Christmas. From the candy and costume overload in October to the presents and stockings in December, November just doesn’t seem to get as much attention or appreciation. How can we teach children to be thankful during the Thanksgiving season, as well as year-round?
4 Ways to Teach Kids to be Thankful this Thanksgiving
This year, we want our children to really work on appreciating the things that they have but it’s a bit of a hard concept to get across at times. My kids are 3, 5, and 7 years-old, so it took some soul-searching to really figure out how to get through to them. Here are some great ideas that we can use to teach our children about the joys of Thanksgiving and the season of giving.
- Role Play with Manners: For my 3 year-old, we are always reminding her to say thank you if someone gives her a gift or says something kind. It is easier to show a small child how to behave if you act it out with something they enjoy. A favorite stuffed animal could give a doll a gift and the stuffed animal should say thank you to the doll in return.
- Thankful Thoughts: At our dinner table, we play the Roses and Thorns game. Each person takes a turn listing a Rose (something great that happened during their day) and a Thorn (something that made them sad or mad that day). It’s a great way to hear about your children’s day especially if they are in school. We plan to add a Thankful Thought to this: each person should say something that they were thankful for that happened during the day. Whether someone saved them a seat on the bus, shared a swing on the playground, or helped them tie a shoe, it will teach your child to be grateful for someone else’s kindness.
- Get Them Excited to Give: Our local library does a Thanksgiving food drive every year. We take the “items wanted” list to the grocery store and I give each child a few dollars. I challenge them to try and get as many items as they can within their dollar amount. Not only are they learning to help by giving to others, they really enjoy the task. (Added bonus – this helps with counting skills!)
- Create a Thankful Tree: Last year, one of our writers suggested creating a Thankful Tree for Thanksgiving. It is another great way for kids to express their gratitude for the little things that happen during the day. This is especially fun because it also provides a great decoration for the holidays!