Giving Thanks as a Family

November is the month families in the United States gather and observe Thanksgiving. It’s a season of feeling and expressing gratitude for all our blessings and privileges. Having an attitude of gratitude is a powerful practice parents can teach their children to generate positive feelings about our relationships and lives overall. Giving thanks as a family can be a dedicated way for families to grow closer and connect to the greater community. Here are some ways your family can practice giving thanks together this month.

7 Ways for Giving Thanks as a Family

  1. Create a Family Thankful Pumpkin. First created by author Amy Latta the Thankful Pumpkin is a way to use those uncarved Halloween pumpkins to express gratitude as a family. Using a permanent ink pen such as a Sharpie, your family can write all the people, things, places and experiences each person feels grateful for on the pumpkin and display your Thankful Pumpkin as a dinner table centerpiece, on the fireplace hearth or on the front porch. Take photos of the pumpkin and then turn it into a pumpkin pie for Thanksgiving dinner for all to enjoy!
  2. Serve Soup for Those Who are  Housing Insecure. There’s no better way of giving thanks as a family for all you have than to give back to your local community. Call your local soup kitchen and volunteer as a family to help serve food to the homeless.
  3. .Celebrate with Natural Gratitude Confetti. Collect fallen leaves and write on the leaves all the things for which your family feels thankful. Punch holes in the leaves and collect the pieces as confetti. On Thanksgiving Day you can sprinkle it around the dining table centerpiece in preparation for guests or have a confetti throwing celebration out in the yard as a way of giving thanks as a family.
  4. Circle of Gratitude. As a family, observe a nightly or daily ritual before a meal or at bedtime in which you circle up and go around telling one another something you each feel grateful for about the others in the family.
  5. Thank You Notes. Your family can get into the habit of writing heart-felt thank you notes not only when a gift is received but for the simplest things. Nothing warms a heart more than receiving a hand-written thank you note from someone’s heart. 
  6. Send a Care Package to a Military Service Member. Your family can brighten an otherwise gloomy Thanksgiving day by sending a special package to someone in the military who may be missing their family and home. 
  7. Plant a Tree. Fall season is the perfect time to plant a tree for many regions in the United States and a wonderful way to show gratitude as a family for the air we breathe. As a family, you can plant a tree and contribute positively to the environment. Here are ways to make tree planting child-friendly.

Cultivating an attitude of gratitude takes practice and when you incorporate fun rituals with a focus on giving thanks as a family you’ll find children readily take to the practice. Giving thanks is something that can then carry over for months and years to come.

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