This Thanksgiving week, let's move beyond the feast and get into the real spirit of the holiday—thankfulness. We all know the warm fuzzies that come with sharing a meal and reflecting on what we're grateful for. But guess what? Those good vibes don't have to disappear once the leftovers are in the fridge. This week, I've got two of my favorite activities that teach thankfullness beyond the Thanksgiving table. They're not just for the holiday break; you can weave them into your family routine all year long to keep gratitude on everyone's radar. So, no need for a grand entrance—just grab your coffee, kick off your shoes, and let's make gratitude a simple, year-round family practice that even Aunt Martha's pumpkin pie can't outlast!
Acts of Kindness
Generosity and thankfullness truly go hand-in-hand. The best way to learn gratitude is to pay it forward, especially to those who might have a little less sunshine in their lives. And guess what? Your kiddos can give back from the comfort of home. Here's a few ideas for community service projects your kids can participate in this week (at home!):
Idea 1: Creating Cards for Veterans and Seniors
Never underestimate what a kid armed with cardstock and markers can achieve. One of my all-time favorite at-home community service projects is the simple act of card writing and decorating. It's not just low-intensity and enjoyable, but it's an activity that kids of all ages can actively participate in. Just swing by your local hobby store for a small pack of cardstock, raid your stash of markers and crayons at home, and let the decorating festivities begin!
Idea 2: Helping Out at a Soup Kitchen or Food Bank
Local soup kitchens and food banks are often on the lookout for volunteers to help prepare and serve meals to community members facing food insecurity. Spend a day together chopping veggies, sorting food, and spreading warmth through food. It's a powerful way for your kids to connect with the community and understand the real impact of their actions.
A Moment of Gratitude
It only takes a few minutes a day to make gratitude an essential part of our lives. Sometimes, as little as simply recognizing all we have is all we need to live a life of thankfullness. Here's two of my favorite ideas:
Transform a simple jar into a gratitude powerhouse. Encourage family members to scribble down what they're grateful for on small notes throughout the week and drop them into the jar. Choose a special time each week to gather 'round, read the notes aloud, and reflect on the collective gratitude. It's a tangible reminder that even in the midst of life's hustle, there's always something to be thankful for.
Imagine starting your day with a touch of magic that lingers throughout. Introducing: gratitude journaling. The challenge of gratitude journals isn't getting started, it's staying consistent. My two favorite tips for keeping the family engaged and accountable:
- Make it Personal - Help your kids pick out their own journals or decorate plain ones together. When they've spent the time creating or choosing a journal, it makes the experience that much more fun and inviting.
- How To Build Habits - Create a designated time each day, like breakfast or before bedtime, for the gratitude journaling session. Consider setting up a visible chart or a sticker system to track their progress. Celebrate their commitment and express curiosity about what they're thankful for—it's a fantastic opportunity for meaningful conversations.
Gratitude isn't a one-time conversation over dinner where we ask, "What are you thankful for?" It's a year-round habit that needs to be cultivated naturally and joyfully. These activities we've explored today aren't just about decorating cards, journaling, or volunteering—they're about instilling a mindset in our kids that lasts beyond the holiday season.
By weaving gratitude into our daily lives, we're teaching them to recognize the beauty in the ordinary, to appreciate the small joys, and to share kindness effortlessly.
With that said, Happy Thanksgiving from the Raising Empowered Kids Team!
PS: What did you think of this week's newsletter? Comment down below and let me know!