Five Ways For Kids To 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 being thankful 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 daughters 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 to not 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 two youngest who cannot write out a full card yet, we talk through why they love what they received, and they write (scribble) their name or draw 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 daughters 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 daughters now get excited to sort through the toy bins they do not frequent as often anymore 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 daughters 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 the big, grand gesture. My family volunteered last year by selecting three of our church’s giving ornaments and completing the “wish” that was on each. My daughters 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 daughters 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 off 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! 

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Stephanie is a Wisconsin native who has always called this great state home, except for a quick two year stint in Minnesota after earning her business degree at UW-Madison. She now resides in Brookfield with her attorney husband and their four bold, beautiful, biracial children (Amira – 8, Leila – 6, Naomi – 3, and Isaiah – 6 months). Stephanie is a full-time working mom who loves a good list and credits her planner for keeping her on track while balancing work and mom duties. When she isn’t working or mommy-ing, Stephanie enjoys going on a long run, reading a good book, dreaming of her next travel adventure, and drinking a craft beer or glass of red wine with her husband.


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