Here’s something that has been on the top of my mind for the past couple of weeks: how can I encourage my kids to be more grateful?! I try to be a positive influence by modeling the behavior I hope they will embrace, but I think this pandemic has shifted so much in our attitudes and thinking about ourselves and our place in the world.
When it comes time to discuss a big topic something I like to do is to share some books with my kids together as a family. Books usually provide the helpful spark we need to get an honest, sincere, and productive conversation going. In this blog post I’m going to share what I’ve done with my kids, link to some wonderful, kid-friendly activities we can all try at home, as well as some things we will do to help others in our community.
A great place to start is by asking your kids: “What does thankfulness or being thankful mean to you?”. It’s helpful to make a list on a piece of paper or chalk board of the things we are thankful for. Children benefit from having strong visual cues, and seeing a list can be a powerful tool. Where will this list-making activity take your conversation? For us, this lead to discussing other words which might mean the same thing, like gratitude and gratefulness. From there, we talked about how we can show or share thankfulness with others. I asked them how it feels when we do this and how does it feel when others show it towards us. I’m sure I don’t have to tell you how rewarding this conversation was for all of us! It’s not the first time we’ve done this, and I’m sure it won’t be the last!
We have decided there are lots of things we can do individually and as a family to share our bounty of blessings. Here are few that we will be doing and I’d love to know what you have done with your family that has worked!
- Neighborhood Clean up – we are thankful to live near a beautiful beach and decided that we can easily spare some of our free time helping care and nurture our environment. I was inspired by a friend of mine to order a couple of trash pickers from Amazon. The kids are fascinated by them and by the amount of trash we collected in a short period of time. Of course, you don’t need trash pickers, but I do recommend using kitchen gloves (and if you can find a recyclable bag to use, even better!).
- Toy Drive – we are thankful for having toys to play with and want to help children in need have something special to unwrap this holiday season. I recommend reaching out to a local shelter and asking about ways you and your family can help. We are organizing our very own collection in our neighborhood to help the Lotus House – please click on the link to learn more about their mission and support them if you can. Here’s the flyer we created!
- Closet Clean Out – speaking of toys, we are grateful for the toys we have been able to play with over the years and want to share those as well. We spent an entire weekend going through every nook & cranny, every bin and box to find every last toy. We found a lot! (And, we really need to think about how we can find more joy with less!) Our Holiday Toy Drive won’t accept used toys, so we are donating bags of toys to friends and churches. Our bags of gently loved books will go to our public library which accepts used books!
- Send Thank You cards! Actually saying thank you is a great way to bring more gratitude into our lives so I dug out a big box of thank you cards and we are sending belated notes thanking everyone for our birthday gifts. Yes, me too! I need to keep showing them that you’re never too old to say thank you!
So with that, thank YOU for reading this blog post and for all of your supportive comments here on the blog and on my social media outlets!
Here are some of our favorite activities for kids this time of year that don’t involve Hand Turkeys!!!🦃:
- Gratitude Conversation Starters: https://creativefamilyfun.net/gratitude-conversation-starters/
- I am Thankful For Free Printable Worksheet: https://www.papertraildesign.com/i-am-thankful-for-worksheet-free-printable/#_a5y_p=6739650
- Gratitude Scavenger Hunt: https://www.naturalbeachliving.com/gratitude-scavenger-hunt/
- Free Printable Thankfulness Cards: https://withprintables.com/my-thankful-cards-free-printable-thankfulness-activity-kids-will-love/