Thanksgiving break comes along just at the right time, in the midst of hectic fall with holidays looming. Why not press pause this season and practice gratitude with your kids? Did you know giving thanks can not only make you feel better, but can also strengthen your immune system and help you sleep better, too? What parent doesn’t need more sleep?
Here are four ideas to help your family put the “thanks” back into Thanksgiving:
Write a thank you note every day.
Because I work in development for a nonprofit, practicing thankfulness is built into my work day. I go through seasons where I write a thank you note every single day! I find the exercise to be much more fulfilling than when I was ten years old writing a note to thank grandma for socks, but at least I learned the practice at a young age. This month, encourage your kids to write a thank you note to a teacher, bus driver, or best friend. It will change their outlook, and hey, they’re spreading love and joy to someone special in their life!
Keep a thankfulness journal.
In her book One Thousand Gifts, author Ann Voskamp encourages readers to keep a journal listing anything at all they are thankful for on a given day. The challenge comes when trying not to repeat what you wrote down the day before, but you and your kids will be pleasantly surprised when you don’t run out of new things to be grateful for!
Create a Thankful Pumpkin.
Make a visible reminder as a family of all the things you are grateful for! Get a medium-sized pumpkin and take turns writing with a sharpie all the things each person is thankful for.
Fill a Thankfulness Jar.
Pay it forward (to yourself!) I saved this one for last, because I think it’s my favorite. Every day for one year, encourage your family to write down something great that happened on a cute scrap of paper. Fold up each scrap and collect them in a jar. If you miss a day (or ten), don’t give up; just pick up where you left off. Next year at Thanksgiving you get to read them all together! Imagine how thankful and blessed you and your kids will feel as you look back on all there is to be thankful for!