Sure, Turkey Day is about spending time with family and eating an enormous meal. And probably watching a little football. But it’s also a perfect opportunity to teach children the real meaning of the word “Thanks giving,” and what it means to be truly thankful. It’s never too early to instill empathy, gratitude and thankfulness in our children. Here are a few ideas on how to do it:

Top 3

During dinner or before bedtime, go around the room and share the three best things that happened during your day. A great way to reflect on the positives of your day while getting ready for the one ahead.

Gratitude Jar

An oldie but a goody. Fill a jar with short handwritten notes of gratitude (doesn’t matter how small). Then, periodically pull out notes and read them aloud. You can make memories of family time during this activity while also remembering those special moments of thankfulness along the way.

Thank You Notes

A routine of writing thank you notes (or drawing a picture, making a video, etc) when children receive gifts is the perfect way to instill a lifetime of thankfulness. The sooner you send them after you receive a gift, the better.

The Grateful Parent

Obviously we love our children and they know they’re on the receiving end of that love. But how about telling them exactly what makes them special to you? Their self-esteem will get a boost, and our example will show them that gratitude goes well beyond material possessions.


Aretha Franklin said it best. And when we teach our children to treat everyone with dignity and respect, they’ll be more likely to appreciate the ways others improve their lives. Parents must be the model for their children, and teaching the importance of treating all people with dignity and respect can not be understated.