Thanksgiving: Teaching Your Child Gratitude

Every year, Thanksgiving brings families together for one joyous celebration. It’s a time where kids can play, adults can rejoice, and families can convene to express gratitude over life’s gifts. As adults and parents, we get this — but for children, some may not fully grasp the concept. Here’s how you can go about teaching your child gratitude ahead of Thanksgiving.

Expressing Gratitude for the Thanksgiving Feast

thanksgivingWhat is gratitude? It’s an attitude that focuses on what you have rather than what you don’t have. People who are grateful understand they’re lucky to have food, shelter and the comforts of life. And they appreciate those things without taking them for granted.

Thanksgiving brings families together for a massive feast. With the turkey, all the sides, and all the desserts of your family’s choosing, it’s a time to be thankful for — as there are those out there who can’t afford or have access to such luxuries. What may seem like a yearly tradition for your family may be a struggle for others. Let this be known to your children.

One of the biggest ways you can teach your child gratitude this Thanksgiving is by having them verbalize what they are thankful for. At the dinner table, your family can go around in a circle and discuss what they’re each thankful for. And before digging into the food, express gratitude for being able to have such a large feast, as it’s something not everyone can have.

The Joy of Family

If you’re reading this article, chances are that you’re thinking about how to best introduce your child to the joy of gratitude on Thanksgiving. The next step is understanding the importance of teaching your children the value of family traditions, values and relationships.

  • Teach them the value of family traditions.
  • Explain that these special times help us remember why we do what we do, who we are and where we come from. They encourage our connection with each other and provide a sense of security that transcends the day itself.
  • Show them how important family values are by sharing yours with them: For example, if respect is important to you as a person or parent in general then show it through words and actions when interacting with yourself (e.g., saying thank you), others (e.g., keeping promises) and anything else related to being respectful toward others.

Words of Affirmation

Words of affirmation are another great way to teach your child gratitude ahead of Thanksgiving. How do you do this? You can start by making sure your child knows what a word of affirmation is, and then follow up with some suggestions on how to use them effectively when teaching your child gratitude.

Words of affirmation are positive statements that we make about other people’s strengths or good deeds. For example: “Thanks for helping me clean up the kitchen!” or “Really nice job baking that dessert!”

In doing this, your child will learn the core tenets of gratitude. On top of that, this provides a strong foundation for building healthy relationships with others.

Set an Example for Your Child

Another way to teach your child gratitude is by setting an example. You may want to start by making gratitude a family tradition by sharing what you are thankful for before or after dinner each night. This can be as simple as saying, “I’m thankful for the food we have today.”

Another way to show your child how important it is for us all to express gratitude is by thanking others in front of them when they do something nice for you or give you something special. The key here is not only thanking people, but also explaining why it’s important to recognize others’ good deeds and gifts; this will show your children that it’s necessary and beneficial to recognize others’ kind gestures and actions towards us!