Raising Thankful Kids

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As parents, we know: “Children LEARN what they LIVE.” {Tweet this.}

For our children to grow up to be gracious and thankful, they must first have gratitude modeled for them. We all hope we’re demonstrating gratitude year-round, but November offers us the chance to be more explicit about the many opportunities we all have to sincerely express our gratitude.

Below are a few ideas for how you and your children can take some time together to recognize the abundance in your lives and use your WORDS and ACTIONS to show friends, family, neighbors — even pets — how thankful you are for the gift of them simply being in your life.

1. On THANKS and GIVING

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Read how one mother-of-three encourages her kids to feel gratitude for all they have by giving some away. To foster good feelings in her children about giving, she posts photos of younger friends (or other children) on a bin so the kids can experience the joy of knowing who will benefit from their kindly donations. (You may find that YOU are the one who’s not ready to part with certain items your children so willing give to make another child happy.) Read more of this mom’s story of giving here.

 2. Thanksgiving THANK-YOU CARDS

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Why wait until AFTER your family leaves to give them a thank-you card? This year, flip things on their head and have your children make thank-you cards BEFORE your family members come to dinner. Children can create thank-you cards for your guests filled with a personalized message of just why your child is thankful for them. Click here to learn how to customize this activity for older writers and wee-ones alike — so everyone can partake in this truly “thanks-giving” activity.

3. Giving Thanks Every Day: Easy, At-Home Graffiti Board

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Here’s a quick-and-easy way for your family to express their thanks every day in November: Create a Thankful Graffiti Board. Hang a big sheet of poster board in a prominent location. Each day, have a member of your family write down (or draw/glue on pictures of) something they are grateful for. Doodles, bubble letters, and quickly jotted chicken scratch are all welcome — it is a GRAFFITI board, after all. It’s so cool to watch this raw, “in your face” reminder of the many gifts, people, and treasures in your family’s life grow and change day after day, as you inspire one another with each new idea. Get sample topics to get you started in the full post: Giving Thanks Every Day: Easy, At-Home Graffiti Board.

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Need a thankfulness craft to keep the kiddos busy ON Thanksgiving Day? Let them make place settings for the Children’s Table with a colorful craft (for all ages) that gets kids reflecting on all they have to be thankful for. Use our color-coded PRINTABLE TEMPLATE to prepare this craft in no time. Kids can “set the table” with their timely turkey plates featuring feathers depicting things they are grateful for or facts they know about the first Thanksgiving. While your child is feasting on his Thanksgiving dinner, he will be reminded of all the things that Thanksgiving is about — history and tradition, family and friends, and (of course) GRATITUDE! Get step-by-step instructions and our free printable turkey template in “The Grateful Turkey.”

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We invite you to take time this month, in particular, to actively model thankfulness for your children. Teach them that “Gratitude is the best attitude.” And after you’ve cultivated a spirit of gratefulness in your children, be sure to point out and compliment all the ways — little and big — that they show it.

For more character-building tips and ideas, we invite you to check out our Parenting board on Pinterest.

THANK YOU for reading. We’re truly grateful for YOU!

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  1. [...] even more tips on helping your children grow up to be gracious and thankful, see our recent post Raising Thankful Kids — featuring a collection of ideas from several of the Melissa & Doug bloggers named [...]