November is a great month to teach thankfulness to our kids. It is a simple act, but sometimes it is the simple things that have a big impact. During the month of November I do easy and practical activities to help teach thankfulness to my kids.
Thankfulness and kindness go hand in hand. Each activity I do with the kids incorporates these connected themes. I want the kids to understand what it means to be thankful for what they have and how they can extend that through being kind to others.
Each thankful activity I plan has to follow a few things. They have to be easy, not need a lot of supplies, and it has to help us connect as a family. I like activities I can work into our busy life. The activities need to be something I can do with my children in the hour after dinner or a weekend afternoon. This November we are going to try a few of these activities to spread kindness and teach thankfulness to the kids.
My kids love Halloween but it seems every year we are left with so much candy. Last year we donated a portion of it to a homeless shelter. The kids school has donation boxes and my kids were responsible for bringing a bag into school. We talked about how lucky they are to have the opportunity to buy costumes and go trick-or-treating. They had fun filling up the bag and we talked about how they think the kids will feel when they see all the candy. This year we are donating to Operation Gratitude. Businesses collect the candy and send them to the troops.
Hang a poster on a door or wall and write thankful in the middle. Let your kids write throughout the month all the things they are thankful for. You will probably get some funny things like Legos and Minecraft but this will get the kids thinking about what they have and how to appreciate it. We have never done this one and I am excited to try it this year.
This has become a family tradition. Every year we trace our hand and write what we are thankful for on a turkey hand. We host Thanksgiving so we’ve made it a tradition to have our family members do it to. Then I hang it on our walls around the dinner table. It looks crazy covering our walls with construction paper turkey hands but it shows the kids how important the day is.
A gratitude jar is something you could do year round. Find an old plastic jar or shoe box. Begin filling it with nice things about each other. This can be set up in a room with pieces of paper and a pencil. Even little ones can draw pictures of what they appreciate in other family members. Once or twice a month read them together. You could make sure everyone writes one thing about each family member through the week. This is another one on my list to try. I love to build that family connection. Like most siblings my kids often argue and I think this would be a great way to foster their relationships.
I thought it would be great to use a binder to create a family thank you book. Kids and parents could contribute stories throughout the year. You could also do it as a seasonal tradition. I love capturing those moments and what is special to my kids at each point in their life.
We do Rose, Bud, Thorn mostly everyday at dinner. My sons teacher shared the idea with us at curriculum night and we decided to give it a try. I never thought we would keep it up but we did. Each night we go around the table and share our Rose(Best part of day), Bud(Something we are looking forward to.) and Thorn(Not so good part). Sometimes the kids don’t have a rose. Sometimes our Rose is dinner…sometimes our thorn is dinner. Its all okay though because it is all about sharing and learning more about each others day.
Pick a Saturday or Sunday and make it all about family. No electronics just your family. Go outside if the weather is good. We try to plan a full day of activities together. We call them Mystery Days and have been doing them since 2012. It is a full day with surprise activities. I love planning them and we always have great memories.
You can still plan a family day without leaving the house. Take out all the puzzles and have a puzzle day. Each family member picks a board game and have a game day. You could even do a cooking day. Everyone plans a part of the meal and then shop and cook it together. Whatever brings your family together is what will work.
I’m so excited to start some of these in my house this November. Do you have an Easy Thanksgiving tradition? Share them in the comments.