Five Ways For Kids To Show Thanks and Give Back This Thanksgiving
Thanksgiving is right around the corner. And we all know that with this holiday comes the daily social media posts telling us that everyone is #thankful and #blessed. But giving thanks isn’t just for social media. This time of year is a great reminder to reinvest in practicing gratitude.
Here are a few of my favorite (and easy) ways to help my children give back and be thankful.
A simple thank you. This might be my favorite of the whole list! So easy, yet often easily forgotten. My mom-philosophy on this has been to keep it consistent from my lips and not to be shy about reminding them when they forget. Make that a habit, and “thank you” will become more automatic from them. I am also a huge fan of handwritten thank you notes after a gift. This is something that I always had to do after a party growing up (thanks, Mom!) and is a habit that I hope my girls grow up appreciating. Even with my youngest, who cannot write out a full card yet, we talk through why she loves what she received, and she writes (scribbles) their name or draws a picture.
Declutter and donate toys. We have practiced this for the last couple of years, and it has been a huge success! I personally love that as a busy mom, it is a service project that is easily attainable for my family. A few years ago, I was looking for a way to teach my children in a meaningful way that the holidays are more than what you receive, and what better way than with something that they are all too familiar with – their toys! My children now get excited to sort through the toy bins they do not frequent as often and select a few toys to pass on to someone else.
Participate in a food or cold weather gear drive. This is another simple way to give back that almost any family could participate in. You pick the drive and the budget that works for your family. Every year, we have a plethora of options. Our church, school, daycare, and community organizations all host different drives during the holiday season. Last year, my two oldest children went with me to the grocery store to pick out our cans of cranberry and pumpkin that we signed up for, and it was a great opportunity to talk to them about what we were doing and why.
Volunteer as a family. I can be guilty of overthinking this one. But then I remind myself that volunteering doesn’t always have to be a big, grand gesture. My family volunteered last year by selecting three of our church’s giving ornaments and completing the “wish” on each. My children have watched me volunteer at their school. We’ve also helped family members with yard work and babysitting – which are other forms of volunteering your time and energy. As my children get older, I hope to incorporate more volunteering into our family.
Take turns saying what you are thankful for. This one is Thanksgiving specific, but it has found a way into our family dinners at other times, too. We go around the table and let everyone share what they are most thankful for that year. This little tradition started when my oldest daughter was three, and it gets better and better each year. She now typically starts, and I love that it is a tradition she finds so special.
Those a just a few of my favorite ways to help my daughters give back. Tell us your favorite way to give back so I can keep growing my list!