Thanksgiving has just passed, and of course I am excited about so many things. Holiday from work, vacation to Denver, CO, to see my wonderful old friends, and my first gluten free turkey day dinner!
I get very nostalgic and joyful around this time of year. Like many of us I become aware of how much I love life and others and how I want to spread my wings and give back to my community. And while I’d like to have a smaller waistline, less student loan debt and vets bills, and have more time for yoga, I am aware of just how blessed, lucky and down right thankful I am for all the gifts I have in my life!
Teaching kids about gratitude and thankfulness is a hot topic around the holidays in America and other parts of the world. We participate in food drives to feed the hungry, donate clothes, volunteer at soup kitchens or get involved in other ways of giving to others in our communities and beyond. It feels good to give back, and it feels even better when a child participates in service work and acknowledges their own gifts and want to share with others.
Here are some helpful tips on teaching kids about gratitude and being thankful during the holidays and and throughout the year.
- Teach simple manners: Please, excuse me, thank you.
- Sharing is caring and is the foundation of giving to another.
- Make a gratitude list at the start or end of your day.
- Play gratitude ping-pong.
- Create a gratitude art project. Have your child draw a picture of what makes them happy and discuss the connection of happiness to thankfulness and gratitude.
- Read a book or watch a movie that sends the message of gratitude and appreciation. Then talk about it!
- The Giving Tree, by Shel Silverstein
- Small Blessings, by Erica Becker
- Have you Filled a Bucket Today?, by Carol McCloud
- Have a regular conversation about gratitude and giving back!
- As parents and caregivers the best way we can teach our youngsters is by role modeling.
- Gratitude starts with respect and acknowledgement of others and having polite manners.
- Acknowledgment of others and a positive outlook!
- Teach empathy.
- Get involved with a community outreach program that support underserved populations.
Have a very Happy Holiday Season!
– Ali Sheppard