When you think of Thanksgiving, what comes to mind? Feasting, friends, family, and lots of great shopping deals are all likely a part of the equation. Your kids may also have been learning about the very first Thanksgiving in school, including Pilgrims, Indians as well as an entire Cornucopia of Early American characters that have passed down to a modern generation a wonderful traditional holiday based on gratitude. There is much for our children to glean from Thanksgiving other than what they learn about in school. The lessons of living a life of gratefulness are far-reaching and will bode well in every child’s future. Here are a few ideas to help you pass on to your kids an attitude of gratitude!
- Openly express your own gratitude. Kids may not always listen to what you say, but they are always watching what you do. Adopting basic gratitude skills in your everyday life is an important way to pass these values on to your children. Saying simple thank you’s and showing sincere appreciation for jobs well done is a great place to start.
- Stop The Entitlement Train. Kids often haven’t learned yet that the world doesn’t revolve around them. They often want what they want and sometimes want it NOW! Teaching kids to wait their turn or that other things may need some attention first is a critical life lesson. When kids learn to appreciate what is done in their behalf, everyone wins.
- Count Your Blessings. It may sound cliché, but the act of writing down a list of things that kids are thankful for is a good lesson for them. Recognizing all the things they have going for them and learning to have sincere appreciation for them is important, especially in a world that may be teaching them to always want more.
- Send Thank You Notes. Teaching your kids to express their gratitude this way is almost a lost art in our world of instant email and text messaging. Taking the time to pen a sincere note of appreciation when something is done in their behalf makes the message sink in a bit more.
- Give Something Back. Part of recognizing and appreciating what one is blessed with is found while giving back to others that are less fortunate. When kids have the opportunity to help others through acts of charity, they learn to have more gratitude as well as appreciation for their own lives and may also find surprising levels happiness in these acts of complete selflessness.
Thanksgiving is a great time to reconnect with friends and family as well as to pause and take a moment to really be grateful for life and it’s rich bounty. Taking the time to show gratitude and teach kids the value of appreciation is what Thanksgiving is all about. That, and of course, turkey and all the trimmings--but you can be grateful for that, too.
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