With Thanksgiving coming up, and the rest of the holiday season following quickly, MySuperFoods is sharing some tips and ideas for giving thanks and giving back with your family.
Beginning a conversation about gratitude and giving can take many forms. It can be as simple as reminding your child every day to say “Thank you,” or taking the opportunity to explain what the person ringing the bell outside of your grocery store is trying to do. Whatever your child’s age, there are plenty of ways to approach the importance of being thankful, what to give thanks for, why giving to others is valuable, and how giving is part of the holiday season.
A good place to start is by broadening your child’s horizons. Explain that not everyone has the same means and opportunities as your family. Some people don’t have food to eat, a coat to wear in the cold, or the ability to work. Jumping to conclusions by passing judgement about others’ circumstances does not give you a good picture of what is going on in that person’s life. Have them imagine “walking a mile in someone else’s shoes” and develop empathy for people who come from different walks of life.
Another approach is to talk about price and value. Explain that a price is what a store wants you to pay for something so you can own it, but value is how much that thing means to you. When you give to someone less fortunate, you do not ask for anything in return (charge a price). What you give is way more valuable to someone in need than it is to you. And giving and serving are valuable actions, both for the server and the served. It feels good to give back!
Model gratitude, giving, and goodwill for your children. Are you talking to the phone when the cashier is ringing you up? Do you treat those less fortunate for with respect?
Some other ideas for talking about giving thanks and giving back
- Talk about who is in need, and what they need. Brainstorm with your family about how you can help, and determine any organizations you could join in giving back.
- Discuss the types of causes you or your children deem important. Talk about your family’s values.
- Make gratitude and giving relatable and personal. Help your child thank someone in their life, such as a teacher, school bus driver, crossing guard or mailman. Or have them pick out toys, make a card, and add their own touches to some gifts for a child in need.
- When your kids ask about someone who is in need, or someone who is volunteering, take the opportunity to talk about thanksgiving and service to others.
- During the week of Thanksgiving, ask everyone in your family to share something they are thankful for.
More tips on sharing gratitude and giving with your family:
- Reflections on giving thanks and giving back
- Teaching altruism to kids
- Giving back to your kids’ classroom and teacher