Time surely flies, and Thanksgiving is right around the corner. It is important to teach our children from an early age that this festive holiday is about more than roast turkey and pumpkin pie. It is an opportunity to be thankful for what we have and who we share our lives with.
This season, along with enjoying a bountiful meal surrounded by lots of food and merriment with loved ones, let’s make sure we embrace the notion of giving back and giving thanks. Kids must learn to appreciate what they have, no matter how much or little, big or small. Showing gratitude and doing what we can to make the lives of others better is a powerful lesson and something that every child will grow to appreciate and carry on into adulthood.
We love our kids and want them to grow into thoughtful and kind individuals. Let’s take time this Thanksgiving to reflect on what we hold dear and show those around us that we value their lives too. Here are three ways kids can give back this Thanksgiving.
There is always a need for a helpful volunteer, not only during Thanksgiving, but year-round. Depending on your child’s age and maturity level, how you choose to volunteer may differ, but the sentiment is the same – helping and giving time and service to those in need. Perhaps you can help at a soup kitchen or shelter. Homes for the elderly may need some fresh faces for help with the residents. Pet shelters can be crowded, and they may seek extra help with feeding and grooming. Ask around your neighborhood and reach out to find volunteer opportunities. Giving is the greatest gift and your child will feel proud that they have made a difference in someone else’s life.
Help in the Kitchen
If you usually send the kids to play while you prepare the holiday meal and set the table, it’s time to incorporate them into the getting-ready process. Kids of nearly any age can be assigned an age-appropriate chore to help get things ready for the special day. Kids can wash veggies, set out napkins and settings, tidy the countertops, or prepare hand-written menus. Many kids want to be part of the action, so give them something to do to lighten your load. They will feel special that they were part of the “cooking” process and will feel like a valuable assistant. As they get older, they can help out more and more. One day, you’ll be the one being waited on!
Send Letters of Thanks
Make a list of all the people your child is thankful for. This could be their teacher, grandparents, siblings, coaches, or friends. Your child can spend time hand-writing letters to these people and describing why they are so special to them. It’s not every day that someone gets a random letter of thanks, so this will make the recipient feel appreciated. Your child’s words and thoughtfulness will go a long way in making the recipient feel like they’ve made an impact on your child’s life. Make it a practice to write similar letters every Thanksgiving as a ritual.
How to you teach your child to give back? What are you thankful for this Thanksgiving?
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By: Melissa A. Kay