With Thanksgiving approaching, it’s a great time to start talking to our children about gratitude and what it means to be thankful. These are complicated concepts that can be difficult for children to grasp. Here are some ways to introduce gratitude to children.
Model saying “Thank you!”
As parents, we often remind our children to say thank you. However, just because our child repeats the words doesn’t necessarily mean that they understand what they are saying. We can help them grasp the concept by making sure we say “thank you” to them throughout the day! When your child does something helpful, make sure you tell them thank you! Say “thank you” with a big smile on your face showing them that their actions can make others happy. There are many opportunities to thank your child throughout the day. Maybe they cleaned up their toys or brought you a book. You can respond by saying, “Thank you! It makes me so happy when you help me!” You also want your children to see you say “Thank you” to other people such as your spouse, grandparents and people in the community.
Do something for others
Community service is a great time to help others. If you have extra clothing, toys or canned goods to donate, you can talk to your children about how wonderful it is that they have so many things and it would be nice to give something to other kids who do not have as many toys.
Show gratitude for your community helpers
Make a card to say thank you to people in your community who help you. Older kids can help brainstorm who to thank, such as the mail man, UPS driver, garbage man, etc. Your child can draw a picture or write a message in the card.
Gratitude arts and crafts
Check out my Pinterest board here of some great gratitude crafts! One easy way to do something like this is to help your child think of things they are thankful for. You can do this by first modeling, “I really love my family! I am thankful for my family.” Then ask your child, “What are things you really love?” “You love your toy car! You are thankful for your favorite toy car.”
Books are always a good idea! Here are a few books that you can use to talk to your child about Thanksgiving and gratitude. Remember, I have even more books listed on my website here.
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