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Monday, November 16, 2015

Teaching Kids Gratitude

With Thanksgiving rapidly approaching, what better time to talk about gratitude, thankfulness, and kindness. It's easy to inform our kids that it's polite to say 'thank you' after someone does something nice for them, for them not to be rude to others, and to use our nice words when speaking to friends. When it comes to knowing why it's important to say 'thank you' and what gratitude really means is a whole other story. Here are some helpful ways to teach your kids the true meaning of Thanksgiving this month.


- Thankful Paper Chain: For a fun craft night with the family, cut out a bunch of strips of fall-colored paper and go through with your children about what they're thankful for. Write each thing on a piece of paper, and put all the things they're thankful for into a chain. Do this for multiple nights, trying not to repeat previous reasons/people/things they're thankful for. See how long your chain gets by Thanksgiving!

- Leaf Garland: Going off the idea above, hang a few pieces of yarn or string along your walls. Allow the children to cut, color, or decorate leaf cutouts to hang on the garland. Talk about what they're thankful for and write each thing on a leaf. Let them hang up their leaves on the garland all the way up until Thanksgiving.

- Thankful Rock Garden: This art project can easily become a wonderful addition to your outside playscape or indoor garden. Allow the children to decorate smaller rocks (bigger than pebbles but small enough to hold in their hand) and talk about what they're thankful for. If they say "cars", then write cars on their decorated rock. Make as many rocks as you can think of things to be thankful for. All of these beautifully decorated rocks will be an awesome garden to look back on and see how wonderful life is behind all the daily stresses.

Random Acts of Kindness:

Kids will love the fun and the happiness that fills their heart doing something nice for a stranger. Whether it's giving someone a compliment, planting a tree, donating old blankets and new treats to the Humane Society, or just giving a stranger a flower, it'll give the kids a feeling that will stay with them forever.

Dinner Table Conversations:

There are so many opportunities that pass us by at the dinner table. While everyone is sitting there together as a family, take advantage of that moment and talk about what being thankful means. The one time they are sitting and involved in their meal, fill them up with a conversation that they'll pass on to their friends. If you need a bit of help in this area, visit here for some more ideas.

Thankful Journals:

This is a bit more time consuming and something easier for the kids that are a bit older. Go out on a journey together and allow the kids to choose their very own, brand new journal from the store to have to write all their positive thoughts and what they're thankful for. At the end of every day, right before bed, have everyone write down 5 things they're thankful for that day. If they can't think of anything they're thankful for, have them write down something positive about the day. Be an example and even have a journal for yourself that you write down things in. Putting this positive spin at the end of the day will help your child have a more positive attitude and outlook on day to day happenings.

Have more ideas? Share them with us!

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