Grateful for Gratitude

With Thanksgiving right around the corner, now is the perfect time to express and share gratitude for all we have!

It’s always a good time to express gratitude, and everything I’ve read indicates that it’s really good for you, too! This time of year, however, we all seem to be more in the mindset to appreciate what we have. Here are some ideas to share this mindset with your children – and make it a little more fun in the process!

SHOW YOUR THANKS

Turning the things you’re thankful for into home decor is not only fun; it also keeps them front and center, so you’re reminded of them every time you walk by. Two of my favorite projects are gratitude chains and thankful pumpkins.

A gratitude chain is a super simple project that just requires some construction paper, a marker, and tape or a stapler. Write what you’re thankful for on strips of paper, then link them together to make a chain. This is a great activity for Thanksgiving day, if you have guests coming over. Give each guest a small stack of paper strips and have them add on to the decorative chain. Then you can hang up the chain, and all the guests will be reminded of all they have to be grateful for. Not getting together with a large group of people? That’s OK! You can still do this with just your immediate family, on Thanksgiving or anytime.

There are actually two types of thankful pumpkin activities. If you have a spare pumpkin lying around (leftover from Halloween, perhaps?), you’ll just need a permanent marker to turn it into a festive decoration. Here are the instructions. The other project is more of a craft, and it requires orange and green construction paper, a marker, and tape. It’s similar to the gratitude chain, but you’re turning your strips of paper into a pumpkin, instead. You can find instructions for the second project here.

What are some other ways you can showcase your gratitude?

EXPRESS YOUR THANKS

While it is great to be grateful for all we have, it’s also important to be grateful for who we have. Let people in your life know you’re grateful for them by expressing your gratitude. There are infinite ways of doing this, including saying it and showing it with hugs and smiles. But it doesn’t have to end there.

At the beginning of the pandemic, we could also see signs posted in many places to say “thank you” to essential workers, teachers, and healthcare workers. Signs are still a great option. To make it more personal, try making a card and sending it to someone you appreciate. Leave little notes where they can find it (especially if they’ll find it at unexpected times!), such as in a coat pocket, wallet, or stuck to a bathroom mirror on a sticky note. You can also get more high tech with a personal video, or by sending an e-card.

It doesn’t have to be fancy, though, to get the message across. The more heartfelt, the more appreciated the expression will be.

PRACTICE THANKS

One time declarations of gratitude are great, but it doesn’t have to stop there. Express your gratitude every day by incorporating it into your life. Say “thank you” to those who help, guide, and inspire. Take some time at the beginning of family dinners to discuss what you’re grateful for that day. Create a gratitude journal and take a moment each day to write down what you’re thankful for (this is also a great way for kids to practice writing!).

For more ideas on how to express gratitude – and make it fun and interesting for kids – check out these sites:

How does your family express gratitude?

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