The holidays are a time of reflection and gratitude, as well as celebration and gift-giving. With so much hustle and bustle, it’s easy to get wrapped up in the holiday madness and forget to practice gratitude. So now is the time to slow down a bit and teach the little ones how to be thankful for what they have. Here are some fun ways to get children (and adults) practicing an attitude of gratitude.
- Talk about gratitude every day. Surrounding your children with positive conversation is a great way to model gratitude. At the dinner table, you could take the opportunity to say something like, “Isn’t this meal wonderful? I’m so happy that daddy took time to prepare this for us. Let’s all say ‘thank you’ to him.” You could go around the table and every person could say one thing he/she is thankful for. You don’t have to limit the discussion of thankfulness to the holiday season, either. Weaving it into daily conversation will really help your children grasp the concept.
- Give back to the community together. This could be as simple as putting together canned food donations for a local food bank or making chicken soup for your sick neighbor. Young kids can even get involved in making a care package for a soldier or choosing a toy for a holiday toy drive. Talk about how much the recipient will love what your child is doing.
- Let your kids help. Some chores might take longer with little ones, but be patient and allow your children to help with tasks around the house. This will show them just how much work is required during your daily laundry routine or when making a special breakfast. When they know the work that is involved, they are more likely to be grateful for the effort you make for them on a daily basis.
- Make hand-made gifts or take your little ones shopping for others. Rather than focusing on gifts they are going to receive, shift the focus for your kids to gifts they want to give. You can Pinterest-craft the day away and get some bonding time while you create special presents for friends and family members.
- Be generous. Clean out all the items you don’t use and donate them to charity. Encourage your children to do the same. When you lead by example, rather than just verbal direction, it will be much more impactful on your children.
- Create a jar of thanks. Decorate a jar or basket together and leave a notepad and pencil next to the jar. Everyone in the family can write down things they are thankful for, and (older) kids can read the notes at your next holiday gathering.
- Take the no complaining challenge. You will be amazed how much more positive a day can be when there are no complaints. Challenge your family (parents included) to go for a full day (or even a week or month) without complaining about anything. Keep track by giving all family members a little bracelet (it could even be made of yarn or string). Every time you complain, move the bracelet to the other wrist. If you all make it through the full challenge time without complaining, treat the whole family to a special dinner or movie night.
- Create a family gratitude journal – Everyone in the family can take turns passing around a journal to write down what he/she is thankful for. Keep the journal in a special place so you can add to it each year and create a keepsake to be treasured for life.
Being thankful takes practice, even for adults, and modeling positivity and thankfulness for your children is one of the best ways to teach them. At Sparkles! we try to teach children the meaning of the season through our curriculum and through our behavior. Ask your child’s teacher for specifics.
We at Sparkles! appreciate you and your children and the trust you put in us each and every day. Have a very happy Thanksgiving!