The only thing missing from our Thanksgiving preparation is the aroma of the turkey cooking! The children have been busy with the many activities associated with this blessed time of year. The classes have been filled with stories of the brave Pilgrims and their Indian friends, learning sign language, playing Indian games, weaving and even dancing to Native American tunes. The children are excitedly preparing for their traditional Thanksgiving feast as the Extended Day classes practice their lines for the production of THE FIRST THANKSGIVING to share with parents and classmates. And, of course, they are talking about being thankful and what that means in their own lives.
Teaching a child to be thankful, generous and kind is a lifelong process and one that involves lots of friends and family to help — certainly something to be thankful for.
What is it that makes a person thankful, and why is it that we often only acknowledge our appreciation for what is important in our lives around the holiday? While it’s true that we shouldn’t only be thankful then, it’s naturally a very good time to talk to your child about the concept and why it’s so important.
Teach generosity. Set a good example for your child. You are your child’s first and best role model. If she sees you engaging in generous behavior, she’ll want to do the same. If you’re sending food to our annual food drive, be sure to tell her why.
Let him help. For the toy drive at church, explain why it’s important and ask him to help choose the toy to be given. Maybe he can even help wrap it.
Start off small. By simply teaching your child to share or get along with a sibling, you are one step closer to raising a child who appreciates what he has. Learning to be considerate of others is a big lesson for a preschooler to learn.
Praise and scold appropriately. When your child does perform an act of kindness, be effusive of your approval. “I’m so proud of you for sharing.” Or “It makes me sad when you grab toys from your friend.” Stress the importance of manners as well.
Get her to take stock. Have your child do something that makes her stop and think about the people and things that matter the most to her and why. Don’t be surprised if she names toys and things she owns at first. Being thankful for material things is okay. Just be sure to help her balance the list by pointing out the people in her life that she loves too.
As your little one develops characteristics like empathy and sympathy, so will his sense of gratitude.