Help your kids learn the true meaning of Thanksgiving by teaching them that this day is much more than a Macy’s parade, but rather a time for us to feel truly grateful and appreciative of all that we have in our lives. Here are a few tips for how parents can teach kids about the importance of being thankful.
Play the Gratitude Game
Lennay Chapman, author of “Secrets to a Rockin Life” has created a game called “The Gratitude Game.” The game needs ideally three or more players and one person to serve as a timekeeper. Have everyone sit in a circle with one person starting off saying, “I am grateful for [fill in the blank].” That person has five seconds to come up with something for which they are thankful. As soon as the first person finishes, the person to the left goes. The key is to say what you are grateful for without repeating, and without pausing for more than five seconds.
Create a Thankfulness Jar
Have the children decorate a jar or basket, placing a notepad and pen next to it. Leave the jar out the week before Thanksgiving and have family members write down things for which they are thankful. This gives people time to think about it and write heartfelt answers. During the Thanksgiving meal, have the children pull them out and read them during dinner.
Create Thankful Turkeys
Draw the old-fashioned hand turkey or be more elaborate, but have children write something they are thankful for on each of the turkey’s feathers. The family can use these turkeys as place cards or decorations on Thanksgiving Day.
Serving Those in Need
Start a tradition with your children to volunteer at a homeless shelter, soup kitchen or non-profit to show them the power of giving back. This will help your children understand how fortunate they are – and everything they have to be grateful for – whether it be a roof over their heads, clothing, toys or a loving family.
Of course, as with any lesson we teach our children, the key to teaching gratitude is to live it ourselves.A continuous dedication to expressing gratitude for our blessings both big and small will certainly stick with them.