Thanksgiving is a special time to be with family and friends; it also provides an opportunity to teach your child gratitude.
Teaching your child social graces such as saying thank you is important. Good manners are important tools for getting along and working with others. However, is learning to say thank you the same thing as being thankful?
Children can learn a script for saying thank you, but how can we encourage the emotional response of genuine gratitude?
Children learn by example, so be a good example. You can reflect back to them genuine feelings of appreciation. Thank them for their good behavior. You can set up little jobs for them to do. This not only provides you with an opportunity to show your gratitude, but also shows them the effort that other people make for them. This sows the seeds for empathy. Children can begin to see outside of their own world, and realize it takes time and work to take the dishes off the table or groceries out of the bag.
Like adults, children need to experience genuine appreciation and to feel appreciated. Thanksgiving dinner provides an opportunity to do just that. You can tell your children some of the reasons you are thankful for them, and how much they have enriched your life. You can also show appreciation for those who are present. This conveys to children how everyone is important. Then, give your child a turn to say what they are thankful for. Be ready to accept anything that they come up with.
And on this note of gratitude, we at Anne Sullivan School would like to thank you, parents, grandparents, and caregivers, for all you do for the children under your care. You really make a difference, not only in the life of your child, but in the world for years to come!