Ways to Encourage Your Kids to Be Grateful This Thanksgiving

Ways to Encourage Your Kids to Be Grateful This Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving is a great time to promote important values such as generosity, kindness, solidarity and gratitude in your children. The problem is that children often want, want, want, with no accountability to feel grateful for what they receive.

I remember that two years ago my oldest daughter started throwing her toys around and stomping her feet because she was tired of them only one hour after opening her gifts. It made me realize that I really have to work on teaching my kids the value of being thankful even at young age. 

  1. Less is more.

    Having plenty of toys for my girls to break in a matter of minutes meant absolutely nothing to them. And although they were gifts, I explained to them about those who are less fortunate. During the course of the last couple of years I had my children give their unwanted toys to children in shelters. I talked to them about kids who never receive toys and many others who do not even have a home. Trust me, your children will fully understand how blessed they are when they see the unfortunate conditions other kids have to put up with. 

  2. Wants vs. needs

    A good lesson for younger children is to have them create a wish list of needs vs. wants. Does your child really need 15 to 20 toys for Christmas or birthday? As parents we are sometimes forced to buy everything we can grab out of the toy aisles but we need to reduce and control ourselves before we spoil our children. Have your child make a list of things they really want. Then go through the list, examining everything with your child, and discuss what they could actually use or need and what they can do without. A discussion like this will allow your kids to review the ‘ridiculous’ demands of what they want and open a constructive dialogue on the matter.

  3. Adopt a family.

    Maybe it is not in the budget, but think about adopting a family for Thanksgiving. Have your child choose the toys or clothes to give them. The private conversation about why you are doing it will leave a permanent impression on your kids and make them feel grateful that the circumstances of their lives are very different.

  4. Tasks for change.

    Young children do great job tasks. A task table keeps them on track and is a fun way to help organize and sort out their responsibilities. A great reward is to give them some change since having money means having the ability to buy things and children love to buy things. After having your child work hard to store up a lot of change, you have to choose a gift they want to buy and if they have not made enough money to buy it, explain how they have to continue to earn more money. After all, the hard work will pay out eventually and they will be very grateful when they finally receive their ‘prize’.

  5. Gratitude of a superhero.

    There is probably no child in the world who is not fascinated by the superheroes one way or the other. As a parent, I turned this phenomenon to my advantage, and, of course, my girls’ advantage. I explained to them that superheroes are not so different from the rest of us, and that they have a lot to be grateful for. Without their friends and circumstances that gave them superhuman skills, they would not be able to help others and that is the main thing they think about and appreciate in life. When you put this part of superheroes into the perspective for young kids, they can change and adjust their behavior to be more superhero like. With my girls, this reflected in their desire to help around the house, each other, and other kids more. A good fun could be a superhero party, with animators and costumes, so that your kids can really find themselves in this important role. I was thinking of organizing it after the Thanksgiving dinner this year. 

If you show appreciation in your daily life, your children are more likely to feel grateful, too. For example, give thanks to the children when they do their homework, thank your husband when he prepares dinner and thank your family and friends for being there. Do not complain about others or how you do not have everything you want. Point out the importance of enjoying the simple things in life like sunlight in the spring or flowers in your garden. Your kids would definitely pick this up.


About the Author: Tracey Clayton 

Tracey Clayton is a full time mom of three girls. She loves cooking, baking, sewing, spending quality time with her daughters and she’s passionate for writing. She is contributor on High Style Life and her motto is: “Live the life you love, love the life you live.” Find her on Facebook.

 

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For our children, we start building the foundations for adolescence in their earliest years - the relationship we’ll have with them, who they are going to be, how they are going to be. One of the things we’ll want to build is their capacity to know their own minds and be brave enough to use it. This isn’t easy, even for adults, so the more practice we give them, the more they’ll be able to access their strong, brave, beautiful minds when they need to - when we aren’t there.

This means letting them have a say when we can, asking their opinions, and letting them disagree.

When kids and teens argue, they’re communicating. We need to listen, but the need won’t always be obvious. When littles argue because it’s spaghetti for dinner and ‘I hate spaghetti so much’ (even though last week and the 5 years before last week, spaghetti was their favourite), they might be expressing a need for sleep, power and influence, or independence. All are valid. When your teen argues because they want to do something you’ve said no to, the need might be to preserve their felt sense of inclusion with their tribe, or independence from you. Again, all valid. 

Of course, a valid need doesn’t mean it will always be met. Sometimes our needs might need to take priority to theirs, such as our need to keep them safe, or for them to learn that they can still be okay if everything doesn’t go their way, or that sometimes people will have conflicting needs that need to take priority. What’s important is letting them know we hear them and we get it.

It’s going to take time for kids to learn how to argue and express themselves respectfully. In the meantime, the words might be clumsy, loud, angry. This is when we need to hold on to ourselves, meet them where they are, let them know we hear them, and step into our leadership presence. We might give them what they need because it makes sense and because there isn’t enough reason not to. Sometimes, after giving them space to be heard we’ll need to stand our ground. Other times we might solve the problem collaboratively: This is what you want. This is what I want. Let’s talk about how we can we both get what we need.♥️
Anxiety will always tilt our focus to the risks, often at the expense of the very real rewards. It does this to keep us safe. We’re more likely to run into trouble if we miss the potential risks than if we miss the potential gains. 

This means that anxiety will swell just as much in reaction to a real life-threat, as it will to the things that might cause heartache (feels awful, but not life-threatening), but which will more likely come with great rewards. Wholehearted living means actively shifting our awareness to what we have to gain by taking a safe risk. 

Sometimes staying safe will be the exactly right thing to do, but sometimes we need to fight for that important or meaningful thing by hushing the noise of anxiety and moving bravely forward. 

When children or teens are on the edge of brave, but anxiety is pushing them back, ask, ‘But what would it be like if you could?’ ♥️

#parenting #parent #mindfulparenting #childanxiety #positiveparenting #heywarrior #heyawesome
Except I don’t do hungry me or tired me or intolerant me, as, you know … intolerably. Most of the time. Sometimes.
Growth doesn’t always announce itself in ways that feel safe or invited. Often, it can leave us exhausted and confused and with dirt in our pores from the fury of the battle. It is this way for all of us, our children too. 

The truth of it all is that we are all born with a profound and immense capacity to rise through challenges, changes and heartache. There is something else we are born with too, and it is the capacity to add softness, strength, and safety for each other when the movement towards growth feels too big. Not always by finding the answer, but by being it - just by being - safe, warm, vulnerable, real. As it turns out, sometimes, this is the richest source of growth for all of us.
When the world feel sunsettled, the ripple can reach the hearts, minds and spirits of kids and teens whether or not they are directly affected. As the important adult in the life of any child or teen, you have a profound capacity to give them what they need to steady their world again.

When their fears are really big, such as the death of a parent, being alone in the world, being separated from people they love, children might put this into something else. 

This can also happen because they can’t always articulate the fear. Emotional ‘experiences’ don’t lay in the brain as words, they lay down as images and sensory experiences. This is why smells and sounds can trigger anxiety, even if they aren’t connected to a scary experience. The ‘experiences’ also don’t need to be theirs. Hearing ‘about’ is enough.

The content of the fear might seem irrational but the feeling will be valid. Think of it as the feeling being the part that needs you. Their anxiety, sadness, anger (which happens to hold down other more vulnerable emotions) needs to be seen, held, contained and soothed, so they can feel safe again - and you have so much power to make that happen. 

‘I can see how worried you are. There are some big things happening in the world at the moment, but my darling, you are safe. I promise. You are so safe.’ 

If they have been through something big, the truth is that they have been through something frightening AND they are safe, ‘We’re going through some big things and it can be confusing and scary. We’ll get through this. It’s okay to feel scared or sad or angry. Whatever you feel is okay, and I’m here and I love you and we are safe. We can get through anything together.’

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