Wednesday, Nov 13, 2019
It's almost Thanksgiving! A time for gathering with loved ones, taking part in family traditions, and let's not forget - eating. While the food on our plate is important, Thanksgiving is a wonderful time to focus on what really matters. The holiday provides us with the perfect opportunity to reflect on our lives and give thanks for the many good fortunes we have received.
One of the greatest gifts we can teach our children is how to be thankful for what they have in life. Research has shown that gratitude is closely tied to happiness and satisfaction. Grateful people are more positive, more energetic, and more empathetic to others. Try some of these family activities to help teach your children how to be more grateful not just during Thanksgiving, but all year long.
1. Create a thankful tree.
Creating a thankful tree is a fun way to get the whole family on board with showing gratitude. Collect branches from the yard and arrange them in a jar or vase to make a "tree." Cut leaves or ornaments from craft paper and leave them in a container next to your tree throughout the month. Whenever a family member thinks of something they're grateful for, write it on a leaf and hang the leaf on the tree. By Thanksgiving, you will have a great family decoration that also expresses the meaning of the holiday. Need some inspiration? Check out some of these great ideas from House Beautiful.
2. Create a kindness wreath.
A kindness wreath is a great way to encourage kids to create moments other people will be grateful for and to develop a keen awareness of the kindness around them. A ribbon is added to a wreath each time a family member points out an act of kindness. When the wreath is full, celebrate as a family and move it to your front door!
3. Serve together as a family.
While crafts and games can be a lot of fun for kids, nothing helps develop gratitude quite like giving. Service-rich activities give children opportunities to practice feeling empathy for others, to see firsthand how others live,to think about others' circumstances more deeply, and to make them more aware of the good things in their own lives. Many people are alone or housebound and in need this time of year. Kids can help prepare or deliver meals r serve a Thanksgiving meal to the less fortunate at a local church, shelter, or soup kitchen.
4. Create a gratitude jar.
Don't have room on your table for a thankful tree? Create a gratitude jar instead. Decorate a simple mason jar and fill it with short notes of gratitude throughout the month and year. Pick a special time to read the notes together as a family and talk about all that you have to be thankful for.
5. Write thank-you notes.
Writing thank-you notes is a thoughtful way to teach children about gratitude throughout the year. Have your children make a list of all the people they are grateful for, from their teacher to the mail carrier, and then write each of them a note expressing why they're thankful for them. It's one thing to notice what we are grateful for and a whole other thing to express that gratitude.
6. Create a thankful tablecloth.
Purchase a new white tablecloth and some permanent markers. Sharpies work best and won't come off in the wash. When family and guests are gathered for dinner, have everyone use the markers to write what they're most grateful for on the tablecloth. You can put the tablecloth out again year after year, making this activity a family tradition. Family members can look back and reflect on what they wrote in years past.
7. Gratitude treasure hunt.
Show your brother, sister, neighbor, or friend how grateful you are to have them in your life with a little treasure hunt. Busy lives and full days mean we often forget to stop and express how grateful we are for each other. A gratitude treasure hunt is fun and heart-warming way to say thank you for the simple things we often take for granted.