Creative Child

A Season of Thanks

by Erin J. Bernard on Nov 17th, 2014

This Thanksgiving, set a place for gratitude at your family table by implementing these simple rituals designed to inspire gratefulness in kids. Giving thanks has never been so much fun.

1. Trim a Thankfulness Tree. Use twigs arranged in a vase to create a “tree,” then help kids cut “leaves” from colorful construction paper. Have them write down things they’re thankful for on the hole-punched leaves, then trim the tree for an evergreen reminder of what’s wonderful in your lives.

2. Rejoice in good health. Start the day with a physical challenge to encourage health appreciation. Many communities host Thanksgiving walk/runs, but a brisk stroll or bike ride is another great way to enjoy the last of the foliage and summon some mindfulness before feasting commences.

3. Deliver a meal to the needy. Each Thanksgiving, Meals on Wheels and other charity organizations recruit cadres of volunteer drivers to deliver food to homebound folks who might otherwise spend the day alone. Sign up, and bring the kids along. Learn more at: www.mealsonwheels.org.

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4. Invite a solo friend for dinner. Encourage your kids to keep their eyes peeled for friends and neighbors who don’t have family living nearby and might be eating alone. Then, invite these solo diners to bring their favorite holiday dish to your own feast. 

5. Organize a helping activity. Thanksgiving morning can be chaotic, so try designating an adult to accompany the kids to a nearby soup kitchen or food pantry for some volunteering. They’ll bask in the appreciation they receive, and the family cooks cap prep dinner in peace.

6. Toast to gratitude. Each year, delegate a different family member to lead a toast or gratitude prayer before dinner. Help the littlest ones with the task by sitting down with them and writing out a list of things they are thankful for.

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