Every day’s Thanksgiving when your family adopts an attitude of gratitude. We asked real parents like you to share how they teach their children the art of appreciation. Try their tips to help your kids become more grateful all year long. 

Count your blessings. Whenever things start to get whiny, we do Stop, Drop and Gratefuls: Everyone says three things they feel thankful for in the moment. Adults first!
-Kim, mom to 3- and 6-year-old girls

Make a gratitude tree. Draw a tree on a big piece of kraft paper, cut one out of cardboard, or make a 3-D version with crumpled tissue paper. Then write whatever your kids are thankful for on construction paper leaves and glue them to the tree. You can do one leaf a day or see how many they can think of all at once.
-Anne-Marie, mom to 6- and 7-year-old boys

Write thank-you cards. Even before they can write, they can make their own cards with crayons and dictate to you what they want the card to say. Our rule is that you don’t get to play with a gift until you write the thank-you card, which gets them written pretty fast!
-Kent, dad to a 7-year-old boy

Get them involved in community and religious life. Gratitude is part of what kids engage in for Shabbat and learn at religious school at our synagogue. 
-Kerith, mom to an 11-year-old girl

Volunteer with your kids. When my oldest was little, we volunteered at a nursing home once a week. Oh, how the seniors loved to hear the kids sing! We’ve also all helped prepare and serve food with a charity that benefits the homeless. Giving back teaches kids to be thankful for what they have. 
-Melissa, mom to 3-, 8- and 10-year-old girls

Want more tips? Try these:

Thank them! When they make their bed without anyone asking or say “please” when they want more popcorn, praise them and say thank you. And make sure to say thanks to everyone from your spouse for making dinner to the supermarket cashier for giving you change. After all, your behavior goes a long way toward shaping your kids’.

Create gifts for others. Even before your child understands money, they get the idea of gifts. Encourage them to make something — even if it’s just a simple drawing — for other members of the family for their birthdays and the holidays to help them appreciate the effort involved in giving gifts to others.

Make thank-you videos. In addition to asking your kid to say thank you in person, after they go to a party or special play date, have them make a thank-you video saying how much fun they had and text it to the hosts.

Give toys to charity. Talk to your kids about families who are less fortunate than yours. Shop with your child for a new toy to give to Toys for Tots — donation boxes are available at Toys”R”Us stores and many other locations nationwide through December 7. And before birthdays and the holidays, ask your kid to go through their toy box to make room for new toys — and have them give the gently used ones they don’t play with anymore to a charity such as Goodwill or a homeless shelter near you. Although some charities don’t accept used stuffed animals, you can donate those to Stuffed Animals for Emergencies.

 

Help your child shop for another child in need — an EQtainment gift promises kids an emotional intelligence boost as well as tons of fun.