Teaching Children To Give Thanks This Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving is a perfect time to teach children the meaning of gratitude


Most parents would agree with the old proverb "it takes a village to raise a child." But during our daily rush we often forget to thank those who help us keep our children safe and happy. As parents, it is our job to model gratitude and appreciation for our children. 

Thanksgiving is the perfect time to show your children the importance of giving thanks and appreciation to the village that helps raise them.

Everyone has a different village; yours may include teachers, babysitters, daycare workers, nannies, grandparents, crossing guards, school bus drivers, fireman, policeman and many others you encounter during daily activities.

Here are 5 ways to teach your child about giving thanks:

1. Personalized Notes or Pictures. 

Let your child write handwritten notes or pictures (for the younger ones) to people they are thankful for. Encourage your child to express what the person does to make their life better or special things the person has done that your child remembers. This will teach your children to value certain people in their life and will be sure to put a smile on the receivers face.

2. Homemade Treats. 

Bring homemade treats to local fire or police stations. Reminding children to thank the people who keep them safe is an important lessen. Your child will find joy in creating something for others and being able to deliver it.


3. Thank You Crafts.

Creating thank you crafts is a great way to get your child involved in thanksgiving and discuss what being thankful means.

A Thank You Tree: Make a Thanksgiving tree in your house by cutting out leaves from construction paper and having your child add something they are thankful for on each leaf.

Thankful Turkey Hands: On each finger of the turkey write what your child is thankful for.

Thankful Place cards: If you're hosting Thanksgiving this year, have your child make place cards for each guest and include a reason they are thankful for that guest on their card.

4. Donating.

If your child doesn't have a specific person they want to thank, you can teach gratitude by having your child donate clothes, toys or food. Allow your child to choose toys or other personal items to donate to children in need or to a shelter.

5. Modeling Gratitude Daily. 

Remember to thank the people you and your children encounter each day, such as crossing guards, mailmen and store clerks. Your child is watching what you do and say so modeling gratitude for your child will have a big impact. 

You can also model gratitude for your children with simple statements of appreciation. Saying things like "wasn't it fun to play in the playground today?" or "I am so thankful we have warm coats to keep us cozy this winter" or "we are so lucky to be able to eat dinner as a family" will show your child that you appreciate the simple blessings in life. You can also ask your child what they are thankful for, either as a dinner conversation or before bed.

Starting the conversation at a young age will help incorporate gratitude into their lives.

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