Thanksgiving has always been a celebration of life and a festival of gratitude for the season’s harvest. Of course, most children have learned the story of one of the first Thanksgiving in American history, when Native Americans celebrated the holiday with the Pilgrims, to whom they had supplied food during a time of scarcity. It is this spirit of gratitude, thankfulness, and generosity that has trickled on down the years from that time, and it is a spirit that is important to foster in impressionable children. Here are a few ways you can use Thanksgiving to teach your kids the value of gratitude and compassion.
Pause the Screens
Yes, a break from school is exciting to kids as a well-earned time of relaxation. Yes, they will want to watch movies, check out the football games or parades on television, or play video games. But try to set aside significant time for family interaction. Have everyone talk about at least one thing they are thankful for this year. Tell family stories, engage in yearly traditions, and find other ways to emphasize the importance of human connection. Not only can this strengthen familial relationships, but it can reinforce the foundation of community that is so important to a child’s social development.
Have the Kids Help With Meals
Learning about how food is made can increase your children’s gratitude for the food they have every day. Bring them along to the store for groceries, have them prep some of the dishes, and try to involve them in any of the cooking that they can handle safely. By engaging directly with the process of cooking, kids often come away with an appreciation for the amount of work that goes into preparing meals, and they can develop more empathy with people who have fewer resources than they do.
Donate to Charity
Perhaps the most important way to teach these values to your children is to donate to charities. Even if you do not have finances to spare, a donation of time is just as crucial. For example, try taking your child along to a local food shelter to help provide the less-fortunate with a warm Thanksgiving meal. If you don’t have time or money, another option is donating possessions like clothes, books, or toys to a shelter. All of these opportunities are ways of centering human interaction and relationships and reducing the amount of importance attached to “stuff.”
We hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving full of joy this year. If you have any questions about enrollment, school culture, your child’s academic performance, etc., you can contact us here.