by Rachel Wells
Halloween is over and believe it or not there’s only 2 weeks until Thanksgiving! Before the hustle and bustle of the Holiday season begins, November is a perfect time to focus on being thankful and practicing gratitude at home.
Focusing on gratitude and gratefulness will not only positively impact your well-bring, but it has also been shown to improve your mental and physical health, help form stronger social bonds, and build resilience. Check out some ways you can help your child (and everyone in your home) practice gratitude this season.
Kids learn to be grateful by hearing and seeing their parents express gratitude. In fact, studies have shown that grateful parents tend to raise more grateful children. You can model gratitude for your child by:
- Saying “Thank you.” Whether it’s to the cashier at the store, the waiter at the restaurant, your partner, or your child for helping around the house, make a point of thanking people as often as you can.
- Remember to share things you are grateful for each day, and point out that even when something bad happens, there are still things to be grateful for. Next time you feel like complaining – shift your focus and talk about something you are grateful for instead.
- Send thank-you cards, texts, and show genuine tokens of appreciation whenever possible.
- Take time to tell the important people in your life how much you care about them and encourage your child to do the same.
Read About It
Books are an amazing way to help children understand a concept – and learning about gratitude is no exception.
Check out a few children’s books that your child is sure to enjoy, and will also help them develop an attitude of gratitude:
Gratitude is my Superpower by Alicia Ortego
The Giving Snowman by Juia Zheng
My Attitude of Gratitude by Melissa Winn
The Things I’m Grateful For by Arnie Lightning
Make it a goal for everyone in your family to tell someone that they appreciate them each day. Sometimes a few simple words can make a world of difference in someone’s day.
Writing in a gratitude journal is another great habit to start either in the morning or before going to bed each night. Have your child use a simple notebook to write down the things they are grateful for each day, or pick up one of these fun notebooks filled with prompts for your child to complete:
The 3 Minute Gratitude Journal for Kids by Modern Kid Press
5 Minute Gratitude Journal by Young Creators
In preparation for Thanksgiving, take time to give thanks for all the good things in your lives while gathered together around the table at mealtime. Whether you talk about being grateful for the sunshine, for your health, for the food on the table, the roof over your heard, or for the clothes on your back – showing gratitude for even the smallest things can leave a big impact.
Help those in need
Sometimes we need to be taken out of our day-to-day to really see how lucky we are. There are plenty of ways to get your kids in on the action, and helping others.
- Look for holiday giving opportunities: donating toys, coats, or food.
- Send cards to a retirement community.
- Serve meals at a homeless shelter.
- Donate birthday boxes to a local children’s hospital (fill gift boxes with cards, toys, and other fun birthday treats or decorations).
Create Visual Reminders
Start a gratitude jar
Grab a clear jar and some small pieces of paper. Each day, have everyone write one thing they are grateful for and place it in the jar. Do this every day until Thanksgiving, and then on Thanksgiving, read each of the papers together (anonymously) out loud.
Make a grateful tree
Grab a large branch from outside and cut out leaves from construction paper. Each day write something you are grateful for on a leaf and hang it using tape or yarn to the branch.
Play the gratitude game
Put some of that Halloween candy to good use with this sweet gratitude activity. Give everyone a bag of Skittles or M&M’s. Take turns pulling a piece of candy out of the bag and use the color code below to share something you are grateful for. Continue until everyone has finished their candy.
Practicing gratitude on a regular basis has long term benefits which can help your child build a positive mindset that will last a lifetime – well worth the time investment now! November is the perfect time to start some of these new healthy habits and shift to a mindset of gratefulness.