12 Ways to Include Your Children in Acts of Gratitude This Thanksgiving

By Kellam Eanes

  1. Have children make place cards for visiting family members. You can also ask them to say something positive or something they appreciate about that person and write it on the back of the card. You can write it for the smaller ones.
  2. Interview children and/or adults individually prior to the Thanksgiving meal about what makes them thankful/happy. Read out what children or adults said to the larger group before (or during) the Thanksgiving meal.
  3. Set the tone when friends and relatives come over or when we enter someone’s home. Greeting everyone with excitement and welcoming them when they walk through the door shows our children the importance of making someone feel special.
  4. Have children make cards specifically for older family members.
  5. Write sweet thank-you's together for teachers or other caregivers.
  6. Involve children in making at least one dish for the big meal. Whether it’s stirring, dumping in the ingredients, or rolling pie dough, make sure everyone knows your gratitude in the role they played.
  7. If you are going to someone else’s house this year-tell the story of Stone Soup and how each person brings something for a wonderful communal meal.
  8. Include your child in shopping for a local canned food drive (even if its easier to do it yourself).
  9. Have your child help you gather coats, sweaters and other outgrown warm clothes around your house for a coat drive.
  10. Share family stories and have older relatives tell your children about their own childhoods. It’s fascinating to watch how intently little ones listen to and are captivated by these stories. Making children aware of their family history makes them feel a sense of belonging.
  11. Give a Thanksgiving "interview" to your children each year where they reflect on what they are thankful for either through drawing, writing, or dictation to you. Record in a single notebook or folder, so that they look back on it when they are older.
  12. Hand turkeys, feet turkeys, elbow turkeys - There is no greater Thanksgiving joy!