Thanksgiving is more than just eating pumpkin pie or having a turkey dinner. It’s important that we as parents help our kids realize the real meaning (and history) behind the holidays we celebrate so it’s not lost on future generation. Here’s some tips for teaching kids gratitude on Thanksgiving that will help get them ready for the holiday season.
Teaching Kids Gratitude on Thanksgiving
Here in Canada we celebrate Thanksgiving in October, but this can apply to the American November thanksgiving holiday. Or you can just use these tips for teaching kids gratitude anytime you feel like your littles ones need some reminders to be grateful.
It seems like society is getting harder and harder to raise kids in. In a world of instant gratification and kids always wanting more, it’s difficult to help them appreciate what they have. It wasn’t that long enough where kids were just happy to have a few toys and a good meal to enjoy with family.
Teach kids the meaning of Thanksgiving
That’s why it’s more important than every to teach kids why we actually celebrate Thanksgiving. It’s not just an excuse to get together with family; it’s a holiday that traditionally celebrated coming together.
Whether the celebration is for the harvest like here in Canada or about local people helping settlers, Thanksgiving is all about people helping each other and being happy for whatever they can share.
Make sure your kids know why we celebrate Thanksgiving each year.
Encourage them to help others
There’s probably no better way to show kids how good they have it than by showing them the ways other people live. If you can, get the kids together and do some Thanksgiving volunteering.
With so many different ways to give back it’s pretty easy to find something that works with your family or budget. Volunteer giving out meals, donate food to the food bank, or deliver Thanksgiving dinner to the elderly.
Talk about the great things in your life
Like most families, you probably have a lot to be thankful for. Help the kids think of all the things (big and small) that they’re grateful for. Encourage them to think beyond video games and toys (which is pretty common for kids to focus on) and remind them of some other great aspects of their lives.
Examples might be having their health, relatives that are still around to celebrate with, your home, school, friends, the food you’re about to eat, and so on.
Do some random acts of kindness
Turn Thanksgiving into a kindness season of its own. Help your kids give back by making a list of random acts of kindness they can do to help people in your lives. It can be small things like holding the door open for someone, or bigger tasks like cleaning out Grandma’s garage.
The point is to think about other people, rather than themselves.
Make them help
Even though it’s sometimes easier to keep kids far away from the kitchen when preparing Thanksgiving dinner, it’s important to involve them in the celebration. After all, Thanksgiving is about everyone coming (and working) together to share a meal.
If kids can’t help cook, get them to clean, set the table, entertain younger siblings, or host guests.
Set a good example
Your kids are watching you even when your don’t realize. Do you show gratitude in your life, or are you always complaining? Does the Thanksgiving hustle and bustle get under your skin making you seem ungrateful? Do you complain about out of town guests?
It’s important that the adults set the mood so that kids will see gratitude at Thanksgiving. This goes for your spouse and anyone else who’s around a lot, too.
Anything you do to start teaching gratitude to your kids on Thanksgiving is going to make a big difference in their lives!