Thanksgiving is right around the corner. What does the holiday mean for you and your family?
My grandchildren are extremely fortunate. They are fortunate that they are healthy, that they were born to their particular parents and that they were born in Canada.
We would like our children to understand and be grateful for the gifts they have been given. But it’s a challenge because we don’t want them to feel guilty. After all, they really had nothing to do with their good fortune.
So how do we put the idea of thankfulness into Thanksgiving?
Putting the Thankfulness into Thanksgiving
Have you ordered your turkey for Thanksgiving? Are you baking pumpkin pies? How many people will be seated around your table?
These questions are probably on your agenda now because it will soon be Thanksgiving and we know that means a big family meal. And that’s a good thing.
But what about the thankful part of the holiday? Are we also thinking about that?
And how do we teach our children to be thankful? The first step is to put it on the agenda. If we decide we want our children to learn about gratitude and plan some ways to accomplish this, it will happen.
We are our children’s teachers and we decide what is important. What are some of the things we can do to help them appreciate the good life they have?
The key is to start early. With our little ones we can simply point out some wonderful things like the flowers we have in the garden or the great meal that we are enjoying. Teaching them to say please and thank you is where it all starts. At first they may just be saying the words, but along the way they will see the connection between what they are saying and what they are receiving.
Work gratitude into your daily conversation. From time to time you can mention something that you appreciate.
All too often, we focus on the meal and miss the thankful part of the holiday. And yet, it is a good time to teach our kids about being grateful and realizing just how good they have it. Whatever your faith and even if you do not practice a religion, a nicely-worded grace normally includes being thankful for the good food that is on the table for the Thanksgiving feast.
Once our kids are school-aged we can engage them in a conversation about gratitude. Talk about thankfulness this year. While you’re sitting around the table on Thanksgiving, raise your glass and toast your good fortune. Mention something concrete for which you are thankful and then ask the kids to do the same. They may be mortified, but stick to your decision, and have them mention something, even something silly and small. It will get them thinking about how lucky they are.
The trick is to keep it simple.
Have your kids help you around the house and when they do, thank them in a concrete way by letting them know how their actions made your day a little easier. “I really appreciate your help with the groceries, now I have a few extra minutes to relax before making dinner. Thank you.”
Then be quiet. It’s easy to forget to say thank you but it’s equally easy to find yourself being over-appreciative. If you gush they may end up missing the point and only help when they get attention for doing so.
Don’t be afraid to say no to your kids. When they get everything they want as soon as they ask, they will never learn to appreciate what they have. If they have a special toy or article of clothing they crave, suggest they put it on the Christmas wish list. Or talk to them about saving some of their allowance money until they have enough to buy it.
And there will be times when the answer is simply no because something they want is inappropriate or too expensive. And they will learn to do without.
When your children receive gifts, insist that they write thank-you notes. Handwritten notes that are actually put into the mail are particularly special. Young kids can add a picture that they drew. If that seems too cumbersome, a phone call or an email is a second choice.
We are so lucky to live in Canada and it’s important that our children understand that they are fortunate.
Bring Kathy to your Community
Do you want to hear more? Kathy is always happy to come and speak in your community, at you event or as a workplace wellness presentation. On her website you can find more information on her material.
My presentations will share a basic value that I call
P — is a parenting plan
U — is unconditional love
R — is respect for your child as he is right now
E — is encouragement
Digital Books Make Parenting Information More Accessible.
There are times when digital is the perfect answer and let’s face it, on a holiday having access to hundreds of books on one small tablet is ideal. I always have my kindle with me when I’m out and about.
There are lots of times when a busy parent would like to be able to simply read and my books are digital and make it easier for you to take a look.
Two of my parenting books started as print versions but the third is only digital. The first two are also now in digital format. Who’s in Charge Anyway? talks about roots. It provides a clear road map for parent to focus on the tough but rewarding job of raising children to be responsible, self-disciplined adults.
But Nobody Told Me I’d Ever Have to Leave Home talks about raising children to become capable young men and women. And Vive la Différence talks about the unique kids and situations which need a special look.
Come and take a look. These may be just the resource you need.