Daily Tip

Giving Thanks with Young Children

As parents we want our children to be grateful, not greedy, and Thanksgiving offers us a wonderful opportunity to instill the value of gratitude. If you’re looking for a fun and kid-friendly way to build deeper meaning into your holiday tradition, here are some easy steps you can try:

1. Start as soon as possible before the holiday. Take a blank recipe card and Write “Thanksgiving Recipe 2015” at the top, then write the name of each month on a separate line, with space between. 

2. Take your family calendar and let it remind you of special occasions, milestones, accomplishments, & other warm memories of the past year.

3. Sit down with your kids and let them help you choose a couple of favorites from each month to write on the card. (Hint: This part will be easier in future years because you can write things down as they occur.)

4. On the evening before Thanksgiving, place a lighted candle in the center of the dinner table with your recipe card and a book of matches beside it. Gather your family for a special candle-lighting ceremony. (Hint: If the extended family is not interested or available, you can do this with just your own nuclear family at a different time from the big gathering.)

5. The first person takes the candle and reads January’s blessings, then everyone gives thanks aloud together, and the child blows out the candle. The next person re-lights the candle, reads February’s blessings, and blows the candle out again.

6. Go around the table, taking turns and helping your children as needed with reading and candle-lighting. Be sure to use a candle that won’t drip on little hands. (A small jar candle can be very handy.)

7. Continue until the whole year’s blessings have been celebrated. (Hint: Very small and/or active children may tire early, or may want to add spontaneous contributions. Feel free to deviate from the script.)

8. Finish with a song of thanks or a family hug.

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