The following is a post by contributing writer Tabitha.
This time of year always brings out my gratitude for everything that is going on in my life and for all the blessings we have. I know we should be thankful year round, but there are so many reminders in the fall that I really focus on it. I hope that I am teaching my children gratitude as well.
In history we are learning about the early colonists and the struggle they had to survive, as well as what led to the traditionally known “First Thanksgiving.” This has led to many discussions on what we have today compared to these first pioneers in a new land far from home, as well as what we are most grateful for in our lives.
Soon afterwards in history we studied the different religious persecutions that led others to come to what would become the United States. We discussed how many different factors led to our country having such religious freedom.
We recently had a family member pass away, and this has also led to great opportunities to talk about what we are thankful for right now. Another family member has recently lost his eyesight. I had my children try to do normal daily activities with their eyes closed. Another “eye-opener” for them, truly.
In these discussions, I’ve learned a lot about what my children think is important and what they most appreciate in their lives, all while teaching them more about what I value and how to show that appreciation.
Ways to Teach Children Gratitude
- Talk about what you are thankful for in your life.
- Show your children appreciation for what they do.
- Make sure you show gratitude for what others do for your family.
- If appropriate, involve your children when you pray/worship in thanksgiving.
- Have a gratitude journal and help your children write/draw their own.
- For this season, we make posters about what we are thankful for. There are many projects available that can help remind us what blessings we have.
- Do something (as a family) for those who have less than you.
- Use thank you cards/notes.
- Have a week where you live without electricity/electronics/buying new things or other such challenges available and involve your family in planning, preparing, and following through.
- Say thank you. Often.
- Read and write quotes/scriptures about gratitude.
- Remind your children to be thankful.
Some of these things I do better than others, but with a little reminder now and then my children have shown me they’ve learned to be grateful for the many wonderful things in our lives. So many times I have learned gratitude through my children’s eyes, when they see something as wonderful that I may be complaining about.
This is not just for certain times of year. It has been shown that a person who looks at the positive is happier because of it. This includes those who look for the good in their lives and are thankful.
In teaching my children to look at the world as full of blessings, I have improved my own outlook as well! I think this can be a valuable lesson for those of any age, stage, or educational background. I am thankful for being able to homeschool my children and see this change in them every day.