12 Ways You Can Show Your Kids What Thanksgiving Is Really About
When you think of Thanksgiving, you probably think of long grocery lists, cleaning and decorating the house, getting family together, and food — lots of food. For many people, Thanksgiving is all about that delicious turkey (there's a reason it's also widely known as Turkey Day). For others, it's about the exciting football game on TV. But what Thanksgiving is really about is right in the title: being thankful and showing and giving thanks.
As parents, we want our children to grow up with a strong sense of gratitude. Thanksgiving is a perfect time to teach our children how to show they are thankful for a number of things in their life. And while the holiday is just that — one day — there are numerous things you can do to show your kids what it's really about all year long. Keep reading for 12 things you can start doing now that will show your kids the true meaning of Thanksgiving.
Spend Quality Time Together
Spending quality time together as a family doesn't have to be anything special. It can be anything from going on a walk together, having a game night, or just snuggling on the couch with hot chocolate for a movie night. By making a conscious effort to be together, you're showing your kids that family is important and is something they shouldn't take for granted.
This one can go hand-in-hand with spending quality time together. No matter how busy your weeks get with work and after school activities, make sure to always carve out time for you and your kids to turn off the electronics and just be together. This allows you to talk, swap funny stories from the day, and be truly present with each other.
Even if you don't want your kids to only associate the holiday with food, you can still use it as a way to teach them how lucky they are to have warm meals, and to also show them how they can help others who may not be as fortunate. Cooking together will help you bond and create lasting memories, and you can bring the end results of your baking session to a local shelter or food bank.
If your family is religious, teach your children how to give thanks for all of the blessings in their life. One way to do this is through prayer or taking your child to church, temple, synagogue, etc.
Teach Them About Their Family
A huge part of Thanksgiving is being with family, but sadly, not all of our family is with us anymore. Honor your deceased relatives by telling your children stories about them and about how your family came to be.
Tell Others You Are Thankful
Many times, we take the people we love for granted and don't show them how much we truly appreciate them. Have your child create something, like a card or a painting, and give it to someone special to show them how they're thankful to them for being in their lives. This small gesture can go such a long way.
Teach your children to volunteer their time to help others. Whether it's helping serve hot meals in a soup kitchen, picking up liter on the street, or volunteering in a library by reading books to younger children, all actions go a long way and are appreciated greatly by others. Your kids will also learn how great it feels to give back and appreciate everything they have.
The donation doesn't necessarily have to be monetary, but setting aside some of their allowance to give to those in need is an incredible gesture for a child. Donating their old toys, books, and clothes to the less fortunate is also a wonderful way for children to help others.
Do a Random Act of Kindness
Make someone's day by performing a random act of kindness, whether it's giving a stranger a compliment or leaving rocks with painted positive messages on your neighbors' doorsteps. No matter what, the act of kindness is sure to put a smile on someone's face.
Teach your children to help others without being asked. Whether it's politely holding the door for someone or helping their younger sibling with a homework assignment, people are always thankful for a helping hand.
Teach children to be on the lookout for someone who may need a friend. If they see someone sitting by themselves at lunch, be the one to invite them to sit with them. Their kindness and empathy will be so appreciated and will go a long way.
Learn About Our Differences
On the first Thanksgiving, pilgrims and Native Americans learned about one another's cultures and differences. Today, it's so important to teach kids to learn about others' differences and to embrace and appreciate everyone for who they are.