It’s that time of year again. The leaves are falling, the air is turning chilly, and the turkeys are flying off of the shelves at grocery stores. With Thanksgiving right around the corner, this is the perfect time to talk to your student about gratitude. This abstract, hard-to-put-your-finger-on concept is such a difficult one for little minds to grasp, especially with some of the materialistic mixed-messages that they’re getting from the media. This year, it feels especially important to talk about gratitude in the context of peace, forgiveness, and understanding – not easy topics to tackle.
For this Family Connections post, I’ve put together a list of resources that can help you start a conversation with your child about gratitude and expressing thanks that will hopefully last long past the turkey and mashed potato leftovers. Feeling grateful and thankful can not only show students all of the wonderful things that they have, but help them to understand and feel empathy for those that may not have as much.
PBS.org’s Adventures in Learning explains, “Thanksgiving can be a difficult concept for young kids to understand. What does it mean to be thankful? Why are we particularly grateful during this time of year? For what should they be thankful for? Sometimes the best way to explain these concepts to kids is with books.”
I love that these books have a mix of concepts and vocabulary that explain gratitude in many different ways. From Did I Ever Tell You How Lucky You Are?‘s theme of feeling blessed to The Giving Tree‘s message of sacrifice for those you love, the books on this list give depth and context to the word thankful that will help students understand the term and relate it to their own lives.
The-best-childrens-books.org presents a list to help children both understand gratitude and foster a grateful spirit. This is something that many students struggle to develop! Try this list out with your child if you’re looking to create a pattern of gratitude that will last past November.
Or try these other resources to tackle this tricky intangible subject with your family:
After sharing a story together, you could even try writing a thank-you note to Grandma for her awesome annual pumpkin pie, or to the neighbors for inviting you to dinner. Or take the opportunity at the Thanksgiving table to mention something that you’re feeling thankful for this year. The conversation about gratitude starts with you – and I’m so grateful my students have you to share this important message with!
Wishing a warm and loving Thanksgiving to you and yours. Share a good story in my honor!