When I sit down to script my articles, I often look around my home or my community to see what inspires me. Many times, the topic stems from ideas or questions shared by parents during the prior weeks. My articles are not necessarily thought about for days; rather, something strikes me that I want to share with others. In this article, the theme of being thankful and grateful has struck me as worthwhile to write about.
Thanksgiving is normally a time to think about what we are thankful for: our families, parents, children, homes, jobs, co-workers, friends, neighbors and spouses. Being thankful concerns how we “feel” about the things we appreciate. Is that the end of feeing thankful? Being grateful is showing “signs” of what we are thankful for. How can children show what they are grateful for? Some ideas include: writing a thank you note for a gift, showing it by living it and using “thank you” without being prompted, volunteering or creating gifts for others.
Start by talking to your child about what they are thankful for. Is it their teddy bear or doll, a grandparent, a sibling or their home? Once our child understands being thankful, they can show they are grateful for something. Being grateful moves beyond a prompted response of “thank you” or showing good manners. Encouraging children to think in terms of being grateful rather than just thankful is a mindset change or a new way of being. While being thankful is a feeling, begin grateful is action.
Gratefulness is an act of kindness. Helping to prepare the Thanksgiving dinner or making a thankful turkey are all ideas that can be undertaken easily at home. Preschoolers can help in many ways to prepare the dinner. Scrubbing potatoes and mashing them after they are cooked, scrubbing carrots and celery, peeling carrots and breaking apart broccoli can all be done by active children. Helping to set the table teaches children where utensils belong and folding napkins increases fine motor skills. Children can decorate the napkins with festive stickers.
An adult or an older child can draw out a turkey; a preschooler can cut the feathers. Each person writes on a feather what they are thankful for or parents can write out acts of kindness they observe their children doing. This is a great starting point for dinner conversation or a story starter to share traditions of the holiday and of your family.
During this season, I wish everyone a peaceful Thanksgiving, one that is filled with family and friends, good food and special times spent together being thankful and grateful for all we have. I am thankful for my husband Jim, my daughters and their husbands, and my grandchildren: Jillian, Ryan, Matt, Alexandra, Bailey, Grace, Tripp, Riley and Erin. May good health, happiness and hard work be the center of your lives. To all my Danbury families, may this season bring you good health and fortune, and may your dreams all become true. What are you thankful and grateful for this Thanksgiving?
Anne E. Mead, Ed. D., is the administrator for the Early Childhood Education and Extended Learning Programs of the Danbury Public Schools. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact her at 203-830-6508 or firstname.lastname@example.org.