November is a great month to teach thankfulness to kids. It is a simple act, but sometimes it is the simple things that have a big impact. This year teaching kids gratitude is more important than ever and we are sharing easy family time activities to incorporate it into your month.
November is going to be so different than years passed. We usually host Thanksgiving and it is something we look forward to. This year it will be the five of us and I want to help encourage my kids to be grateful for the things we do have and focus on what we should be thankful for.
Thankfulness and kindness go hand in hand. I like to plan thankful activities that take little prep and mean a lot to the kids.
Each activity I do with the kids incorporates these connected themes. I want the kids to understand what it means to be thankful for what they have and how they can extend that through being kind to others.
Each thankful activity I plan has to follow a few things.
They have to be easy, not need a lot of supplies, and it has to help us connect as a family.
I like activities I can work into our busy life. The activities need to be something I can do with my children in the hour after dinner or a weekend afternoon.
This November we are going to try a few of these activities to spread kindness and teach thankfulness to the kids.
7 Ways to Teach Thankfulness to Your Kids
My kids love Halloween but it seems every year we are left with so much candy. Last year we donated a portion of it to a homeless shelter. The kids school has donation boxes and my kids were responsible for bringing a bag into school.
This year trick or treating is looking very different. Whatever it may look like for you there are still opportunities to share what you have with others.
There are many organizations that donate treats including foster homes, nursing homes or sending treats to the troops in a program like Treats for Troops.
Think about places you visit in your community to see how you can help or share your treats with others.
This is one of my favorite holiday traditions in our house. Use poster board and write thankful in the middle. Encourage your kids to write throughout the month all the things they are thankful for.
You will probably get some funny things like Legos and Minecraft, but this will get the kids thinking about what they have and how to appreciate it.
Turkey Hands for Thanksgiving
This has become a family tradition we started when the kids were small. Every year we trace our hand and write what we are thankful for on a turkey hand. When we host Thanksgiving we encourage our family to participate too!
Then I hang it on our walls around the dinner table. It looks crazy covering our walls with construction paper turkey hands but it shows the kids how important they are and how we are surrounded by love.
A gratitude jar is something you could do year round. Find an old plastic jar or shoe box. Begin filling it with nice things about each other. This can be set up in a room with pieces of paper and a pencil.
Even little ones can draw pictures of what they appreciate in other family members. Once or twice a month read them together.
You could make sure everyone writes one thing about each family member through the week. I love how this builds family connections and fosters good self-esteem.
Create a Family Thankful Book
I thought it would be great to use a binder to create a family thank you book. Kids and parents could contribute stories throughout the year. You could also do it as a seasonal tradition. I love capturing those moments and what is special to my kids at each point in their life.
Rose, Bud, Thorn
We do Rose, Bud, Thorn mostly everyday at dinner. My sons teacher shared the idea with us at curriculum night and we decided to give it a try.
I never thought we would keep it up but we did. Each night we go around the table and share our Rose(Best part of day), Bud(Something we are looking forward to.) and Thorn(Not so good part).
Sometimes the kids don’t have a rose. Sometimes our Rose is dinner…sometimes our thorn is dinner. Its all okay though because it is all about sharing and learning more about each others day.
This is a great tradition you can do with all ages. We started it years ago but it has turned into something we all look forward to.
Plan a Family Day Out
Pick a Saturday or Sunday and make it all about family. No electronics just your family. Go outside if the weather is good. We try to plan a full day of activities together.
We call them Mystery Days and have been doing them since 2012. It is a full day with surprise activities. I love planning them and we always have great memories.
Check out this post on how to plan a family day trip or be inspired by 16 Family Day Trips from Rochester, NY. It doesn’t have to be complicated or over planned, just pick a few family favorite spots and enjoy the day.
If you want to stay home you can plan a family day without leaving the house. Take out all the puzzles and have a puzzle day. Each family member picks a board game and have a game day.
You could even do a cooking day. Everyone plans a part of the meal and then shop and cook it together. Whatever brings your family together is what will work.
All of these activities will help teach your kids thankfulness and help you connect as a family during the month of November.