BY CINDY GORDON | www.VegetarianMamma.com
It seems that this time of year, we like to take a step back to be thankful. While we should be practicing gratitude all year long, this is a perfect chance to practice the art of gratitude with your children.
So what exactly does gratitude mean? Gratitude is being able to be thankful and the readiness to show your appreciation for kindness. Gratitude often involves returning kindness that was given to you.
Modeling gratitude yourself is the best way to teach your child about gratitude.
Each year, I like to make a thankful jar. Each time something special happens that I am thankful for, I write the memory in the jar. At Thanksgiving dinner or a special time in November, we sit down as a family and read the memories. We relive the happiness and talk about why those memories make us grateful.
No matter the age of your children, you can leave them notes of gratitude each day during November. On a sticky note each day, write one thing you are thankful for when it comes to your child. Place the note on your child’s pillow each night.
For the younger tots, you can read books that display gratitude. You can role play with their favorite dolls and stuffed animals.
If you have crafty children that like to decorate for the holiday season, you can make a thankfulness tree. Use construction paper to create a tree trunk and affix it to a wall or door. Cut out leaf shapes in many colors. Have each member of the family write something they are thankful for on the tree. Do this for a couple of weeks. Each time you walk past the tree, take time to stop and reflect about all the beautiful things you are thankful for.
Give your child the gift of a gratitude journal. Whether your child is a pre-writer or is writing in full sentences, this is a fantastic activity. Each day, sit with your child and reflect on a moment of the day that you are grateful for.
Spreading your gratitude to others helps to pay it forward and encourage gratitude in others. Purchase some blank postcards. Have your children draw or write messages to the people in their lives they are thankful for.
As your children get older, your gratitude projects can grow with them. Perhaps you can pick a project to volunteer with as a family. Maybe you could spend a Saturday at a soup kitchen or animal shelter.
One of my personal favorites is that my family commits to performing a certain number of “random acts of kindness” during the month of November.
Even when your kids are not with you, there is still time to be grateful. After all, we need to practice what we preach. As you are grabbing a coffee in the drive through, go ahead and pay for the car behind you. You never know when you will start a wave a kindness and gratitude.
Cindy Gordon is the owner and author of Vegetarian Mamma and is a foodie who loves to blog about gluten free vegetarian/vegan recipes. Her family also focuses on foods that are peanut, tree nut, dairy and gluten free. Cindy’s family is dedicated to finding/creating recipes and products that fit their families needs. Cindy resides in Ohio with her husband and two boys (born ’07 & ’10). She enjoys spending time with her family, the outdoors, gardening, wine and cooking! Connect with Cindy on www.VegetarianMamma.com, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest.