7 Ways to Create a Thankful Heart

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Thanksgiving is fab with the football, the parades, the turkey, the family (usually, lol) and the pie. With all that going on, it’s easy to lose sight of why we celebrate Thanksgiving in the first place. History buffs know that even though the significance of Thanksgiving has evolved through the years, the undercurrent has remained the same: a celebration of gratitude. One day hardly seems enough to model for our kids how to show our gratitude for the amazing blessings we’ve received, but the month of November is a great time to focus on it beyond the requisite thank you notes they begrudgingly write with eye rolls.

And hey mamas, these are good tips for us too. Let’s all focus on our tremendous blessings this month! Maybe start with this list to shift your perspective:

That was a good warm up, right? Here are our 7 tips for creating a thankful heart for November, the holidays, and beyond!
  1. Blessings Chart – Ask your children each day what their blessings are, and what they are thankful for, then add it to your chart – or even a pumpkin! Here’s a printable chart you can download, or put that uncarved pumpkin to good use! What, you carved yours? Hmmm, we didn’t get around to that this year… (#momfail – or WAS IT?) 
  2. Gratitude JarUse popsicle sticks and each day write what you are thankful for on a stick (write it for your kids if they don’t yet know how to write) and add them to the jar. At the end of the month, you can review the many things you are thankful for. Definitely take a photo of this one because year after year, you’ll want to see how their answers change.
  3. Read Books About Thankfulness – Kids love being read to so use that opportunity to explain the concept of thankfulness. Here’s a list of some great thankfulness books. Find a great one? Send it to school to share with those reading buddies!
  4. Write thank you notes – No, not just for gifts. Sit down with your children and write thank you notes to special people in their lives like teachers, coaches, grandparents, etc. JUST BECAUSE. Mail or hand-deliver the notes to each recipient. It’ll make that person’s day. Fill-in-the-blank thank you cards are great for younger children while hand-written notes are more appropriate for older children.
  5. Gratitude Journal – Encourage older children to keep a gratitude journal where they can write down one thing a day that they appreciate having in their lives. Make this fun by getting them some pretty pens, washi tape, and stickers to dress up the pages.
  6. Donate clothing and toys. Assist your children with going through their clothing and toys and pick out a few things to donate to a local children’s hospital or shelter. Knowing that these items go to others in need makes it so much easier to let go of a favorite shirt or toy that just doesn’t get the love that it should anymore. This act of giving something of their own is a great way to teach your kids the spirit of giving and gratitude.
  7. Purchase a Spirit of Giving Ornament by Willow Tree and hang it on your Christmas tree as a reminder that “Generosity is your shining gift.” According to Willow Tree, “Gold is used on this piece to represent something precious and valuable — the intangible gift of generosity. The gold box is perhaps a metaphor for the most generous gift we can offer — the time we give to others.” Consider picking up a couple of extra ornaments to share with the special people in your life. Click image for additional details (affiliate link).

How do you encourage thankfulness in your kids, and in your everyday life? Tell us in the comments below!

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