Thanksgiving is the perfect time to teach kids the value of gratitude and connecting with loved ones. It is one day out of the year celebrating giving thanks which makes it a great launching point for starting a daily practice in gratitude. Below I will share with you why to teach kids gratitude, how to teach kids gratitude, and a fun Thanksgiving craft to teach kids gratitude and connect with their loved ones.
WHY TEACH KIDS GRATITUDE
Gratitude practice can help to reduce stress and pain, improve the quality of sleep, and reduce anxiety and depression. We can teach kids how to be grateful everyday by doing 3 simple things.
HOW TO TEACH KIDS GRATITUDE
Ask your child each day to name one thing they are grateful for that day. Couple it with another activity that they do daily to make it a habit. For example, you can ask “What are you grateful for today?” as a daily topic that you discuss at the dinner table to spark conversation. If your family practices prayer, this also a great time to ask. If not, perhaps ask when you first turn the lights off before bed.
2. MODEL GRATITUDE
Reflect on things in your own life you are grateful for and share your thoughts with your kids. Say thank you to your kids, to your spouse, and to the all the people you interact with. Seems simple enough, but I for one forget sometimes, especially when I am busy.
3. GIVE TOGETHER
Find a cause your kids are passionate about and help them think of ideas to raise money or make a donation. There are piggy banks like THIS* one and THIS* one that help them divide their money into three categories: Save, Spend, and Share. At the end of the year they can make a donation from their Share section.
CONNECT WITH LOVED ONES
Aside from practicing gratitude, Thanksgiving is also about connecting with loved ones whether you spend it with friends or family. This year is very different as many of us are not spending it with our extended family in person. To keep families connected from afar, I created a project for the kids called the family Thanksgiving Tree.
I love asking everyone to share at Thanksgiving something they are thankful for this year. It is a way to reflect on the year and to express gratitude.
THANKSGIVING TREE CRAFT
- Print the two pages above from THIS LINK on cardstock
- Have your kids ask everyone who they would typically spend Thanksgiving with what they are thankful for this year
- Write each response on one of the leaves along with that person’s name.
- Cut out the leaves
- Glue them to the tree with a glue stick
- Don’t forget to write the year at the bottom
I’m planning to make this a family tradition. It will be fun looking at everyone’s responses from year to year.
Wishing you and your family a joyful Thanksgiving day full of love and laughter.
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