As adults, we teach children in all aspects of life. We guide them in their first steps and words; later, we help instill healthy habits such as brushing teeth and eating a well balanced diet. This holiday season, we invite you to help guide the children in another aspect of life by teaching compassion, caring and gratitude.
Be present and honor commitments – With the passing of each year, life finds a way to move even faster than years prior! Calendars are jam packed with commitments and technology seems to have a partial hold of our attention at all times. Use this time of year to reprioritize the calendar. Schedule things that really matter first, such a family meals, activities and events. Make these commitments non-negotiable for all. Turn off the technology and honor those close to you by giving them your undivided attention during these special times.
Model the gratitude attitude – Children observe our every action and interaction. For this reason, it is important to model the gratitude attitude with others, even when the busyness of the holiday season is in full swing. Treat the children in your life the way you would like them to treat you. Use “please” and “thank you” not only with your children, but also with others around you. Acknowledge the children when they pitch in or help out. Teach the children how to write “thank you” cards at a young age. If they are too young to actually write a special note, have them draw a creative picture for those who have done something nice or caring for them.
Create a family Gratitude Tree – This is a fun activity that the entire family will love! All you need are small pebbles, a vase, a few small branches, colorful construction paper, string, markers, scissors and a hole puncher. Place the branches in the vase and fill the bottom of the vase with the pebbles so the branches stay in place. Cut out different shapes with construction paper; punch a hole through the top and loop string through the hole. Once you have created the tree and tags, have each member of the family write something they are thankful for on a tag and hang it from the tree. Add to the tree every day or week, depending of the size of the tree. Once the holiday season is over, pull the strings from the tags and fasten them together with a metal fastener to create a small “Gratitude Book” for the family to cherish for years to come!
Update or create a chore chart – Update or create a chore chart that includes tasks that properly represent or challenge all of the children. As children grow older, their ability to pitch in also develops. Have the little ones help out by setting the table and pitching in with clean up, ask the older ones to help with the meal by completing a supervised and fun food preparation task, such as helping with a dessert or salad. By contributing to the family and pitching in, starting at a young age, children will begin to understand effort, handwork and the importance of teamwork.
Play the “High, Low, High” game – When you sit down for a family meal, go around the table and play the “High, Low, High” game. Have each person start by saying one “high” for the day, something that they are happy about or grateful for. Next, have them say a “low” or something that was difficult or challenging for them during the day. Lastly, end with another “high.” This is a great way to get the family to share about their day together.
Give thanks by giving your time as a family – Choose a charity that the entire family can dedicate time to this holiday season. Help out at a soup kitchen or dedicate an afternoon to wrapping gifts for a toy drive. Giving to others, who may not have as much as they do, not only teaches children about the world around them, but also helps them feel grateful for the things that they do have in their lives.
We at Educated Nannies are so grateful for you. Wishing you and your loved ones a Happy Thanksgiving!