The birthdays at our house hit once a month, from mid summer until Halloween. I’m exhausted and broke. I’m also incredibly cranky at all the Christmas present requests I’ve been hearing – most withing 48 hours of opening birthday presents. Thanksgiving couldn’t come at a better time. Every year, we use that month to remind the children to be thankful for all they have, all they get to do, and all the blessings of family and friends that are in their lives.
I’m always looking for new ways to teach thankfulness and gratitude. Here are my five top ideas for this year:
- Thankfulness Calendar from The Better Mom and Stay At Home Daughter – 22 Days of Thankfulness is an adorable calendar with scripture references for each day. We’ll be looking them up before class work and talking about the verses. I might even staple some lined notebook paper in between some construction paper and let them draw a picture of the verse each day: think gratitude journal.
- Thankfulness Jar – My daughter came home with this idea from another kid in her Awana’s Club. Their family writes something they are thankful for on a piece of paper and puts them all in a jar. She didn’t specify how many they wrote, or how often they added to the jar, only that on Thanksgiving they pass around the jar and every pulls out a piece of paper and reads it aloud.
- Thankful Chalkboard – 24-7 moms shared this cute idea! I don’t own a chalkboard or a chalk wall so I’ll have to use my dry erase board, freezer (yes! you can use dry erase markers on them), or our banner paper. I have one of those school sized rolls of paper that we roll out onto the floor almost daily to color on. Wouldn’t it be cool to wrap the front door in paper (or old wrapping paper) and write our thanks there for all to see?
- Volunteer at a Food Bank –Seeing something firsthand will give children a new perspective. Mine balk at not getting what they wanted to eat for dinner! Drives me nuts. Volunteering at the food bank and seeing what it’s like to really feel blessed to have ANYTHING to eat might be just what they need to change their tune. The unintended effect of how GREAT they will feel afterwards, having spent time helping others, will just be frosting on the cake. Need to find a food bank? Check FeedingAmerica.org.
- Spend a Day in the Dark Ages– I’m not sure how well I could pull this off, as it would definitely need to be on a day that the Mr. was home. Bake bread, no TV, no internet, walk instead of drive, learn needlepoint or knitting. Make butter, heat water on the stove or grill for bath water. Read. Hand wash some clothes. Visit a working farm to see where our food comes from and what it really takes to put it on the table. Absence makes the heart grow fonder, right?
Do you have anything special you do this time of year with your kids to teach or practice gratitude?