With Thanksgiving around the corner, many of us begin to think about every little thing we’re thankful for. While I may not be the poster child of health, I’m grateful for my wellness. I might take it for granted at times, but my body lets me do so many things, from walking, dancing, hugging, and kissing, to exploring, writing, and eating.
I’m grateful for having a roof over my head, a cozy blanket in my living room, good friends, and children who love me. And while I don’t believe you ever need a reason to practice thankfulness, the holiday season is a great opportunity to teach kids how to be grateful every day.
Helping your children cultivate an attitude of gratitude will help them grow into happy adults that are more sensitive to others. Here are 5 fun activities to teach the little ones to feel grateful.
- Do a Gratitude Collage With the Kids
Gather the kids around the dining room table and create a gratitude collage with all the things they’re grateful for. This can include photos of pets, concert ticket stubs, messages and letters from long-distance family members, and so much more.
Have the little ones cut out magazine pictures, old photographs, mementos, trinkets, and anything they like and place them on a large cardboard poster.
Once they’re done with their collage, let them talk about why these items are important to them, if they feel like sharing them. It’s one of the best ways for your kids to take a moment to reflect on the things they’re grateful for, big and small.
- Teach Kids to Look for the Extraordinary in Everyday Life
Sometimes, we take many things for granted. But whether you live in a small town or in an exciting big city like LA, there’s beauty all around you.
Inspire your kids to find the extraordinary in the ordinary by talking about the little things that make life amazing. If the smell of fresh-cut grass makes your heart sing, comment on it. There are many things to be grateful for, like:
- Being able to travel
- A kiss from their dog when they wake up
- When a stranger smiles at you on the street
- Having a pet that loves you
- A home that feels safe
- Fuzzy blankets
- A cat’s purr
- Bake a Treat for Your Neighbor (Just Because!)
Make cookies, muffins, or stovetop popcorn for your neighbor, and have the kids lend you a hand in the kitchen. While you’re prepping, explain to them why you’re doing this. Baking a treat for someone else is a great way to show gratitude and can really get the kids excited about kindness! When the dish is done, have the little ones make a drawing or a thank you note and surprise the neighbor together.
- Make Expressing Gratitude an Everyday Ritual
You can make gratitude an everyday ritual by having open conversations with your kids about how they like to show gratitude. How do they feel when someone gives them a gift? Are they grateful for someone special in their lives? How do they show someone their appreciation? Here are a couple of gratitude activities your kids can do on a daily basis:
- On the way to school, have your kids list the things they love
- At the dinner table, have them share one positive thing that happened to them that day
- Before going to bed, have them share two things they appreciate about their siblings or loved ones
- Build a gratitude wall. Have them write one thing they are thankful for every day on an index card. At the end of the week, have them hang the index card on the wall
- Take a walk around the park and encourage kids to appreciate all the amazing things they see like animals, leaves, trees, and fresh air.
- Make Gratitude Stones
Grab a couple of stones from the yard or a nearby park and give them a nice wash. When they’re dry, help the kids paint a symbol or write a word that represents the things they’re grateful for. When the stones are nice and dry, place the gratitude stones around the house. Make sure they’re somewhere visible so the kids can see a visual reminder of all the good things in their life.
Teaching our kids to be grateful about the little things in life isn’t easy, especially when they’re bombarded by flashy and materialistic things everywhere they look. But it’s our job as parents to experiment with different activities to help them express their feelings of gratitude.