Parents often worry these days that they are not raising grateful kids. Thanksgiving is an excellent chance to reinforce thankfulness for all we’ve been given and enjoy in our homes and communities. Here are three simple suggestions to help your home cultivate more thankfulness this Thanksgiving.
Thanks Around the Table
Most families honor the holiday with a quick thanks corporately or individually around the table before the meal. Take it a step further this year by going around more than once and have each person name a specific thanks. Remind children (and adults) even the little things count, such as beautiful weather, pretty place settings, good attitudes.
Not just for football fans, game time on Thanksgiving can also mean challenging your family to make this day (or any other) a day of no complaining. For each complaint, consider having that family member put his name on a slip of paper in a jar. At the end of the meal, draw a name from the jar for each chore that has to be completed. Or instead of names, for every complaint, a thankful thought must be written down and added to the jar. Pull these out and read them on days when gratefulness seems to be forgotten.
One of the best ways to teach gratitude–and demonstrate your own–is to serve others. This can be in all the “small” ways your family needs. Challenge your children to find one way to be of service to a family member on Thanksgiving:
- Help an elderly relative with getting to and from the table.
- Offer to clear the table after and help with dishes.
- Older kids can entertain the little kids while waiting.
- Raking leaves or sweeping the porch so the outside is holiday ready too.
- Fold napkins.
- Keep the bathroom tidy.
- Try a new dish to show appreciation for the cook.
Another way to serve is within your community. Consider giving your day away to a soup kitchen, homeless shelter, or church dinner. Donate canned goods and paper products through your local postal service, religious or civic organization, or seek out a family you know is in need and do what you feel led.
Giving thanks should be a daily habit, but in this season we are reminded of its impact on ourselves and others.