Thanksgiving, the time when we are supposed to take a moment to reflect on the things we are grateful for in our life, is right around the corner. While as an adult, the idea of gratitude it something we have come to understand and appreciate, it’s a concept that can be difficult for children to grasp why it’s important.
Now is a great time to put some things in place to teach your child the value of gratitude and appreciation for what they have, and there are some great ways to do that.
Talk About Gratitude
One good way to help kids even as young as two understand what gratitude means is to talk about it in your home. Make it a tradition every day at dinner to go around the table to talk about all of the good things that happened in the day. This not only lets the kids hear from you how to be grateful for the good things in their lives, but they can also be part of the process. Having the kids involved is one of the best way to help them learn.
You can also have them keep gratitude journals. Spend a little time each night having the kids write in a paper journal. Make it a family activity where everyone writes a moment that day that they felt gratitude. This could be anything from a moment that made them happy, where they helped one of their friends or classmates, or things that they saw in their day. You can even make writing prompts. Give them something a little different each day so they can see how many different ways they can find gratitude in their every day life.
Another great way to help kids be grateful for the things they have is to have them be generous to those less fortunate. Have them take the toys and clothes that they no longer want or fit, including toys they choose themselves, and donate them to a charity or directly to kids who don’t have as much as you do.
Even better if you donate some of your own things to give them a good example. Kids who see their parents donating their own clothes and items are more easily inspired to do the same themselves. They feel good about helping other kids enjoy the toys they loved, and teaches them that they have things that many kids may not.
Encourage your children to get involved in goodwill project. This is something you can put together for them to do, such as making soup for a sick neighbor or buying presents for a less well off child from their school. Talk to them about how much the people they are helping will appreciate their thoughtful acts. They can also get involved in projects run by clubs, schools, or places like martial arts dojos. It’s a way to get them involved in the community as well as teach them gratitude through helping others.
If you keep up with these practices all year long, your kids will be able to appreciate the things they are grateful for all year long, not just at Thanksgiving.