As Thanksgiving rolls around, the conversation ultimately centers on how thankful we are. As parents, we use this time of year as a stepping stone to one of those “teachable moments”. Each year we feel obligated to remind our kids of all the things that they should be thankful for. This is a good thing, and by all means- keep it up! But instead of more stories of Pilgrims, turkeys, and abundant harvests, why don’t you use this year as an opportunity to let your children show someone else how thankful they are?
It’s simple. Download and print the attached Thanksgiving Thank You notes. (There are four to a page, so you’ll need to cut it into 1/4’s as indicated.) On each 1/4 sheet, have your child write why they are thankful that so-and-so is a part of their life. Have them do this for each guest you are having dinner with or for anyone important in their lives. This simple exercise forces children to think about each person individually and brings to their conscious the reasons why that person is special to them.
Let me tell you something from experience. Being the recipient of such a thoughtful sentiment is more meaningful than turkey, stuffing, and stories of pilgrims. It’s a true blessing to be thankful for that will last the whole year through.
Thank goodness for Thanksgiving! It’s our once-a-year reminder that we have a lot to be thankful for. If you are like me, it’s also my once-a-year reminder that I need to be more thankful the REST of the year. As a mother, I’ve tried to instill a culture of thankfulness into my children. Fortunately, it’s an easy thing to do. Here are a few simple ideas:
1. Help your children to notice all that they have to be thankful for by pointing out the wonders and goodness around them. For example, a trip to the park can include the comment, “Aren’t we lucky to have such a great park near our house? I’m so glad it is here!”
2. Thank your children when they do something good or kind, better yet, do so on a regular basis.
3. Teach your children about the freedoms they have and enjoy. That way they will learn to value the freedoms they have and will learn to be a good citizen.
4. Freely and openly thank others in front of your children. Saying thank you to a caring friend in front of your child is a very valuable lesson.
5. Turn unexpected or negative events into an exercise in gratitude. For example, a rainy day that caused a trip to the beach to be canceled can be turned into an exercise in gratitude. “You know, this rainy day is the perfect way for us to bake your favorite cookies. If it weren’t for the rain – there’d be no cookies!”
6. Every now and then, ask your children what they are most thankful for. You’ll be amazed at what they say!