Lori Lori is a work-at-home mom of three living in Noblesville, Indiana.

Thanksgiving is about showing gratitude for all that you have and giving to those who are less fortunate. This holiday season, express your thanks by getting the entire family involved in spreading kindness, donating, and volunteering. Take a look at these five ideas of teaching kids gratitude and generosity.  Remember, these ideas of teaching kids gratitude are good every month of the year, not just during the holidays!

Teaching Kids Gratitude

Donate to a favorite charity.

I’m willing to guess that you have some items in your home that are no longer of use to you but could really help out others. One of many ways to teach kids gratitude is to take some time to sort through gently used toys, clothes, and other household items and take them to The Salvation Army, a women’s shelter, or another charitable organization. I like to move things out of our house when I am not using them, so we take things to Goodwill regularly. We are starting our purging process and I am glad we are donating some things that will hopefully bring joy to others this Christmas. The kids were eager to help, although they were a little leery about parting with their toys, so we need to revisit that idea in a few days and try again!

Visit a nursing home or senior center.

Patients are often pretty lonely in the nursing home or senior center, especially during the holiday season. Spend some time with those who aren’t able to be in their homes or with family or friends. The elderly love to reminisce about the days when they were younger. Volunteer to listen, talk, or play games with seniors. You will probably really enjoy yourself while you are at it. Take your children (not babies) and you will simultaneously teach them a lesson in empathy and understanding. A lively child can make an elderly person’s day, to say the least.

Send care packages to soldiers overseas.

A holiday care package can be the perfect pick-me-up for soldiers who are halfway across the world, miles from those they love the most during the holiday season. Shop for toiletries like toothbrushes, toothpaste, deodorant, and soap.  Include some non-perishable things to eat, too, such as canned foods, gum, and cookies. Small games can help keep the soldiers busy during their downtime. Consider crossword puzzles or small Sudoku puzzles. If you are interested in ways to support soldiers year round, you can adopt a U.S. soldier and send a weekly letter, postcard, or care package for a single soldier for the duration of their deployment.

Photo credit: Flickr.com

Provide Thanksgiving dinner for a family.
You and your kids can make this holiday season one that a hungry family never forgets. Check with your church or another outreach organization in your community. You can do a Google search to find out how to donate Thanksgiving dinner to a family in your area and find the best way to get the process underway. Once you have a match and a family that needs a meal, let your children help with the grocery list and come shopping with you to pick out the ingredients you need.

Invite some extra guests to join your family for Thanksgiving dinner.

The holidays are all about giving and togetherness. If you know someone who doesn’t have anyone to celebrate with this holiday season, don’t be scared to invite them over to your family’s Thanksgiving dinner. Your invitation will make them feel loved. The more, the merrier, right?

The holiday season is a time of year when people are inclined to show more graciousness. While I want this to be a yearlong practice for our family, I look at it as an opportunity for my children to focus on what they have and be thankful for it.  This year my kids are old enough to really grasp what it means to help others — and I can’t wait to do the things I have listed above with their help!

How do you give thanks this Thanksgiving and throughout the holiday season (and the year)? Have you ever had the pleasure of teaching kids gratitude? What are your tips?

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Category: Family Free Time

Tags: donations