Teaching your child about giving thanks and being grateful for what they have is one of the most important lessons you can teach them this holiday season. Children don’t learn about giving thanks from abstract ideas or having discussions. Children learn best by doing, hearing, seeing and experiencing. Here are the top 5 ways you can teach your child about giving thanks this year.
Model Giving Thanks
It is a well known fact that kids do as you do and not always as you say. Modeling thanks and gratefulness to your children shows them how to turn thankfulness into meaningful actions. Say thank-you to others, give hugs and kisses and write thank-you notes. Make sure your child sees these expressions of giving thanks from you. Explain to your child the reasons why you are grateful and why you show thanks to people in the ways that you do. Teach your child about giving thanks this holiday season by giving some thanks to others yourself.
Create a Chain of Thankfulness
Children understand abstract concepts like giving thanks better when you can turn it into some tangible item. A great idea for teaching your child about giving thanks is to work together with them to construct a thankfulness paper chain. We have all made paper chains in school, mostly at Christmas time. First, cut strips of paper about one half inch wide. Then have your child write one thing that they are thankful for on each paper strip. Discuss your child’s choices with them. You may have to write for younger children. Then connect the strips together to form a chain. See how long you can make your paper chain. This would be a great activity to continue into the Christmas season.
Read Books About Giving Thanks
Children can learn a lot about the world around them through reading books. A great idea for teaching your child about giving thanks is to sit down with them one-on-one or as a family and read and discuss children’s picture books with the theme of giving thanks. Here are some excellent books to use.
In Every Tiny Grain of Sand: A Child’s Book of Prayers and Praise by Various Authors
Thanksgiving Is for Giving Thanks by Margaret Sutherland
Grateful: A Song of Giving Thanks (Julie Andrews Collection) by John Bucchino
The Hiding Place by Corrie ten Boom
Volunteer with Your Child
Volunteering with your child is a great idea for teaching your child about giving thanks. Some good places to volunteer include soup kitchens, homeless shelters, nursing homes, hospitals, day care centers or nearby parks. Helping others is always a great way for children to feel grateful and give thanks for the blessings that they have.
Have Kids Write Thank-You Notes
Writing thank-you notes is a tangible hands-on way for your child to give thanks. Have your child write thank-you notes for gifts they have received or kindnesses others have bestowed on them.