family history · parenting

Encouraging the Kids to Be Thankful

Yep, they need to learn too.  They don’t want to be thankful, but if you encourage it in them, they learn too.  Just like us, if we encourage it in ourselves, we learn it.

From little on, we teach them to say “Please” and “Thank you”.  We want them to be polite.  We want them to know how to be kind.  We want good little children, so their grandparents will say good things about them.

Well, to teach them to be thankful, it really needs to be an every day, all the time thing as well.  It is ok to put the emphasis on it this month because, well, Thanksgiving.  But carry it into the rest of the year- especially that day almost exactly one month later that become a hoarders hallelujah….  Actually, I guess it really starts the DAY after Thanksgiving when thousands of people rush off to stores to beat off other people for stuff they think they NEED.  (No- I do not like black Friday, nor do I go.)

Sorry-  I will get back on track now….

As the kids have grown up, I have done lots of different things concerning Thanksgiving and being thankful.  Some years I have done better than others, that’s just the way it goes sometimes.  (I can’t be the perfect mom all the time!!) Here are some things we have done as a family as the kids have grown.  I wish I knew where the pictures were, if I have any, of these things.  (Scrapbooking is NOT my gift!)

  1. Sometimes they would make placements for all the family members who gather for Thanksgiving.  This ends up being quite a few.  Since I have mostly boys, its REALLY a big project.  (Just getting them to put pen to paper is the real project!!!)  Sometimes it is just a quick picture and the family members name.  Other times it’s a collage of cut out magazine pictures and words that we liked.  Sometimes we add Bible verses we liked for each family member.  It depends on how much time I can get them to spend on it or did I get started right away in November or did I wait until the day before.
  2. A hand-leaf tree.  Some years we made a thankfulness tree using our hands.  I might draw out a large tree on a piece of poster board or construction paper and then trace out their hands on autumn colored construction paper. We might cut them out, if they are old enough and good with scissors.  If not, I will just cut them out.  I ask them daily what they are thankful for, write it on the leaf, and they tape it to the tree or paper.  It doesn’t matter to me where, as long as its somewhere near the paper and tree.  (truthfully, it’s not really daily.  Its more like, every few days)
  3. A few years we did a turkey.  Again, I drew out a large turkey shape out of construction paper, some kids helped color it in or add features cut out of construction paper.  We then traced our feet, or I cut out feathers from different colors of construction paper.  We then added things we are thankful for to the feathers and glued them onto the turkey.
  4. I like hand print crafts.  They are so cute.  So, yes, we did lots of hand print turkeys!!  One year I had a whole section of wall full of them, with things they were thankful for on each.

I like to keep things simple.  Construction paper, scissors, crayons or markers.  Old magazines are always fun.  Who needs any more than that??  We don’t need elaborate, Pinterest worthy projects that I need to finish.  The fun is in the process.  If it’s not fun for them to do, why bother???  Yea, sometimes I had to encourage my boys to do “one more thing”.  I did not finish their project for them.

I let them dictate what they are thankful for.   Sometimes I had a lot of thankful for “Lucky” the dog, or “Sassy” the cat, or the hamster, or the fish and very few for Daddy or Mommy.  That is ok.  It’s what THEY are thankful for not me.  Eventually, we get past the pets and move into things like Grandma playing games with me, or Grandpa letting me play with a tractor.

What are your favorite ways to encourage kids to be thankful??




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