Today is the day we are reminded to be thankful for our many blessings, so I will reiterate that message. What are you teaching your children about gratitude? What are you modeling for them about appreciation? In this generation of entitlement, and materialistic focus, with the Christmas holidays approaching, I notice many opportunities for practicing and modeling a grateful and giving attitude.
What does your family have to be grateful for? What are your blessings? Who do you appreciate?
Healthy active children?
A supportive spouse?
Your own health?
Spend time with your kids today, (and other days as well) to focus on the blessings your family is bestowed with. Take a few minutes today to practice gratitude with your children. Have them write or draw a picture of what they are thankful for. Think about ways to build this practice into your daily life. You might suggest that before eating dinner everyone share one thing that they are thankful for that day. Or spend an afternoon making fun crafty thank you cards, or pictures that they can use as the occasion arises through the holiday season.
If you are having a bad day this exercise can be a powerful reframe when you find yourself in a negative, stressed out, overwhelmed space. And on a good day, just an excellent attitude to model to your children. Your children are watching you, so be mindful what values you are modeling to them!!!
Read books about what it means to be thankful. Stories and pictures help children make sense of new ideas. Your child’s understanding of a book at 14 months will be different than what she gets out of it at 35 months—so continue to share these stories over time. As she grows, talk with her about the stories and pictures and explore what it means to be “thankful.” Here are some age-appropriate choices for children aged 12 to 36-month-old:
Biscuit Is Thankful by Alyssa Satin Capucilli and Pat Schories
Little Critter: Just So Thankful by Mercer Mayer
Feeling Thankful by Shelly Rotner
Thanksgiving Is for Giving Thanks by Margaret Sutherland
I’m Thankful Each Day by P.K. Hallninan
Giving Thanks: A Native American Good Morning Message by Jake Swamp
All the Places to Love by Patricia MacLachlan
Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours!