As parents, we teach our kids how to say “please” and “thank you” at a young age in the hopes that they continue to use good manners as they get older. But do we ever pause to consider explaining the why behind saying those words? The concept of gratitude is certainly more complex for younger kids to grasp, but we can practice demonstrating our thanks in simple ways.
The holidays are around the corner, and your family's Amazon wish list may already be growing with what your kids are hoping to receive for Christmas. How can we re-center our family and encourage them to embrace a spirit of giving?
Check out these ideas to help your family practice showing gratitude at home.
- Gratitude Garland - Leading up to Thanksgiving, make a Gratitude Garland as a family. Trace the outline of leaves on paper and cut them out. Each day, have family members write something they are thankful for on one side and their name on the other. Parents can help out if your child is too young to write or have them draw a picture! Run a string through the stem of each leaf and hang as a banner in your home.
- Thankful Window - Pick a window that your family sees daily, grab some washable paint and have each family member paint what they’re thankful for each day the week of Thanksgiving. Let each family member choose their own paint color or switch paint colors each day.
- Thankful Place Settings - No matter how formal or casual your Thanksgiving dinner will be, this is a great idea to have everyone feel appreciated at your table. Create place settings for your Thanksgiving meal by using any paper you have on hand. Have your kids write the names on the place settings or simply decorate with markers or stickers. Before you eat, have each person write on the place setting what they are thankful for about that individual. Share them as a group over dessert.
- Gratitude Stone or Pumpkin - Have your kids paint one stone or one pumpkin before your Thanksgiving dinner. Before you eat or maybe during dessert, pass it around the table as each family member shares one thing they were thankful for that day.
- Gratitude Walk - Take a walk as a family through a park or around the block and discuss things you are thankful for that you see such as beautiful leaves, fresh air, neighbors and more.
- Create Thanks - Kids love to use their imaginations! As a family, use blocks, Legos or Play-doh to create the things you are thankful for.
- High Five Challenge - Create a family challenge around gratitude and make it fun! Whoever gives as many thank you high fives in a day wins.
- Grateful for Service People - Give a gift to your mail person, Amazon delivery driver, or school bus driver. Have your child write or decorate a card and add a sweet gift like candy or a pumpkin.
- Make a Meal - Who wouldn’t love a break from making dinner? One of the ways your kids can appreciate the work you do making dinner is by getting in the kitchen! Choose a meal that is simple such as grilled cheese, spaghetti or tuna melts. Even if you’re not ready to hand over the reigns in the kitchen, have your kids dish out plates for everyone, set the table and load the dishwasher.
- Donate Food - As you are grocery shopping, encourage your kids to pick a few of their favorite items to donate to a food local bank. You can choose one of our Be Rich partners to drop items off to. If you don’t already, try praying at meals for the blessing of your food and that God may use your donation to bless others.
No matter what you choose, be sure to thank God for the time you spend together. If you're looking to give back your local community with you family, check out these opportunities through LCBC's partner organizations.