With Thanksgiving upon us, it’s common for families to focus on teaching gratitude this time of year. But this character trait doesn’t always come naturally for children, and sometimes parents need to consider ways to cultivate thankfulness in young ones. In addition to thankfulness being our November “peace” theme, and discussing this in each classroom, we at Shining Stars Montessori Academy offer ways parents can reinforce this attitude at home.

1. Make a thankfulness jar. Keep some slips of paper next to a jar so whenever someone in the family thinks of something or someone they are thankful for, they can write it down and put it in the jar. Kids will love seeing the jar fill up, and families can read all the entries on Thanksgiving Day.

2. Teach the art of writing thank-you notes. It doesn’t really matter if it’s something big or little, but taking time out to write a note and focus on being thankful for something will make an impression on young children. Maybe they want to thank a grandparent for a gift, or just a neighbor for being kind. Keep a stack of blank notecards handy so children can express their thankfulness often.

3. Get out of your own world. You don’t have to go far to remind children to be thankful. Volunteering at a local soup kitchen or women and children’s shelter will also do the trick.

4. Room clean-out. Many children are blessed with more than they need. This is a great time to clean out toys and clothes that are no longer needed and give them to those less fortunate.

5. Read together. Reading is always a wonderful family activity, so find some books that focus on gratitude. We suggest Thanks a Million, by Nikki Grimes, or The Thankful Book, by Todd Parr.

6. Be a good example. Parents can fall into a habit of complaining just as easily as children, but remember your children are constantly watching to see how you react to the joys and challenges of everyday life. In the good and the bad, try to see and vocalize the positive side, and your children will tend to be thankful even when things don’t go their way.

As you enter this busy time of the holiday season, don’t forget to teach gratitude and giving of thanks to your children. It’s an important character trait to teach now so your child grows up with an attitude of thankfulness.

For more information on how we help your child excel both in academics and in character, contact us. Better yet, visit us and see us in action.

-R. Rodriguez