Thanks, Giving & Gratitude

November is the month when we tend to talk most to our children about thankfulness. While it’s great to have a holiday set aside for expressing appreciation for the good things in our life, gratitude is something we can practice 365 days a year, with or without a turkey dinner! 

When we teach our kids to be grateful, we’re not just raising thoughtful humans — we’re also setting them up to be happier, healthier people. Research has found that gratitude may have benefits that range from increased resilience to improved physical health to better sleep (something any parent can appreciate!). 

Some of us are naturally inclined to embrace gratitude, while others of us find we need to be more intentional about bringing our awareness to the things we’re thankful for — and the same is true of our children. Here are some ideas we love for helping cultivate gratitude in little ones!

  • A family gratitude tree is a beautiful, hands-on visual reminder of the things for which each member of the household is grateful.
  • Kids Yoga Stories has a gratitude-focused yoga practice that’s perfect to share on your Ruggish play rug!
  • Rhythms of Play’s visual gratitude journal page is a great way for kids of all ages to creatively express the things they’re thankful for — no writing skills necessary!
  • One way to show gratitude for our own gifts is to give to others, like the Jewish tradition of tzedakah, charity that is rooted in justice. Many families make a ritual out of regularly adding pocket change, or a portion of birthday or holiday money gifts, to a tzedakah box, then sitting down periodically as a family to choose a cause to support with the money they’ve collected. 
  • Remember the Montessori tenet of giving children the tools to accomplish things independently? That philosophy can have a place in your family gratitude practice, too. For Small Hands has a roundup of suggestions for involving little ones in holiday activities around gratitude and giving.

How will you help your children grow in gratitude this holiday season and all year long?

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