Thanksgiving is coming...are your kids GRATEFUL?
Thanksgiving is less than a week away, and you're wondering how your kids will react to new foods, a new environment, and all that family. Are you also wondering how grateful they are, or if they even understand what grateful means?
Are your children learning that Thanksgiving is all about gratitude and the ability to say "thank you"? Do they understand that gratitude leads to happiness?
Let's remember what gratitude means; it's a feeling of gratefulness or thankfulness. In other words, it's intentionally noticing and appreciating what we DO have, something positive, or something beautiful. It's not just "looking at the bright side of things", rather, it is turning inward so we find satisfaction with what we have and who we spend our time with, which makes us feel pure happiness. So, how do we teach our kids this tool for happiness?
We can start by modeling gratitude at home. We say thank you to each other every time someone does something that makes us feel good or appreciate them.
Your toddler picked up the books and put them on the bookshelf. "Thank you for cleaning up. That makes me so happy and makes my job of being your mommy so much easier."
Gratefulness at mealtime:
During mealtimes, be sure your whole family uses kind words, like "please" and "thank you" at every opportunity.
You can also give each child age appropriate "jobs" such as setting the table, helping prepare the meal, and cleaning up. Each time someone does something, such as giving someone a napkin, be sure they are thanked and say "you're welcome".
By modeling appropriate behaviors, and showing your appreciation for their support, politeness and helpfulness will become second nature to them in no time. And these manners will carry over into all parts of their lives, both in and out of your home.
So next time they visit Grandma and Grandpa, they will naturally say "please" and "thank you". I bet they will also help with the household chores without being asked. Being treated with respect and feeling appreciated makes us all happy and grateful.
Gratefulness at bedtime:
At bedtime, you can use gratefulness to remind ourselves and our children who and what we're grateful for. At the end of your bedtime routine, you can ask your child to share something or someone they are thankful for.
Gratefulness with gift giving and receiving:
As the holiday season is approaching quickly, let's not forget about giving and receiving gifts. We can practice with our children how to express gratitude through role play.
When receiving a gift:
practice thanking the person when they hand you the gift,
read the card first,
open the gift,
then look at the giver and say thank you, again.
This reinforces that we are grateful that the person was thinking of us as opposed to focusing on whether or not we actually like the gift.
When giving a gift:
be sure to include your children when thinking of ideas.
If you are getting a gift for a birthday party, ask your child what they think their friend would like or what they are into, and then try to find something meaningful.
You can also talk to your children about what makes this person special to them, and maybe they can even make a homemade card to be included.
These added touches will be most appreciated and make an impact. Your children will also become more aware of how actions affect others and will treat people with the same respect they hope to be treated with as well.
All in all, everyone learns about gratitude, which is what this season is all about.
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