Teaching Kids How to Give Thanks

Recently, when I went to pick up my son from preschool, I noticed his class had redone their display board as they do each month.

This month’s board, titled: “I am most Thankful for…” was decorated with one large tree and many little personalized leaves with the children’s responses. As I skimmed for my sons name I thought:

aww! maybe he said his little sister. That would be so cute!… Or maybe he couldn’t chose and simply said “my family” … Maybe he did chose, and he said “Mommy!”.. Oh! melt my heart.

The longer it took me to find his leaf, the more teared up I got at the thought of the sweet thing my son was thankful for… so you can imagine my disappointment when I read “SPIDERMAN“.

What? What has Spiderman done for him? This is a joke – right?, But it wasn’t and I thought clearly, this is a lesson we need to work on.

How do you teach a 4 year old the meaning of Thanksgiving? Sure, he knows to when to say thank you- but to truly be thankful for something, or someone? How do you teach that?

You could start by explaining to the child that you are thankful for things that make you happy and have them make a list. Surely, Spiderman will still be a front runner- but there’s a chance you may find a family member’s name come in a close second …or third. And that would be progress, right?

The truth is being thankful is not really something that is taught in one lesson. It’s a life of lessons, so for the average preschooler they probably don’t truly “get it” yet. And that’s okay. I don’t think I truly appreciated some of the most important things in my life until I was out of college.

So for now, it’s about the memories. It’s about the tradition, and including your little one in those traditions. Which for us, means cooking up a storm, watching the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade… and anxiously awaiting the unveiling of the new Spiderman float.

And that makes me most thankful.

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