As far as holidays go, Thanksgiving is one of the best. It gives us the perfect excuse to get together with friends and family and devour turkeys, casseroles, and other fixings – and it provides us with an opportunity to step back, reflect, and be thankful for the blessings in our lives.
If you’re celebrating Thanksgiving with little ones, you can use the holiday as an excellent opportunity to help them understand what it means to be grateful and thankful. Depending on how young – or old – your children are, here are a handful of ways you can teach your kids gratitude this Thanksgiving:
VOLUNTEER AS A FAMILY. See if you can find a local food bank, soup kitchen, or donation center that will allow kids to help out. It’s important to give kids the opportunity to help out and support their community, and by giving back to those less fortunate than themselves, your kids may realize just how lucky they are to have everything that they do – things like clean clothes, shelter, safety, and a home-cooked meal.
LET THEM HELP COOK! Regardless of how old your kiddos are, letting them get involved in the kitchen can be a great way to help them understand the labor of love that goes into preparing any meal. Once they start to realize how much work goes into putting dinner on the table, they might be a little bit more grateful when the time comes to eat – both on Thanksgiving day and for any family meal.
SHARE YOUR GRATITUDE. When it’s time to sit down for dinner, don’t just dive in. Instead, take a moment to express your thanks for the food on your plates, the people at your table, and the blessings in your life. Go around the table and share the things you’re grateful for. You and your little ones will realize you have more working in your favor than you understand.
RUN A RACE FOR A GREAT CAUSE. Many families participate in an annual Turkey Trot race before diving into Thanksgiving turkey. While these races are great healthy traditions to embrace as a family, the real reason to run is to support a great cause. Proceeds from these races typically go toward a food bank or other organization on a mission to feed those in need during the holiday season, and you can use this as an opportunity to teach your little ones about the reason you’re running – and the people you’re supporting.
MAKE GRATITUDE A GAME. There are plenty of ways you can make expressing gratitude a little more fun for your younger Thanksgiving guests. Gamify gratitude by finding different colored pieces – these can be candies, straws, stickers, or anything else that can be divided into four or five color groups. Assign each color a category – person, place, thing, event, or wildcard. Then, take turns drawing colors and coming up with something you’re grateful for that fits the category.
Aside from a great excuse to get together with loved ones and indulge in your favorite holiday treats, Thanksgiving is the perfect time to embrace gratitude – and to teach your kids how to do the same. See what you can do to infuse your Thanksgiving with a little more appreciation, and watch how your little ones will grow from the experience.