Within the last few years the Thanksgiving holiday has begun to see a shift in how it’s celebrated and some families are opting to no celebrate the day at all in light of its harrowing history. In that case, it’s appropriate to focus on the gratitude portion of the holiday. Gratitude is an important concept for children and is one of their basic words that they first learn.
It’s easy for a child to learn to say “thank you”. While it’s important, saying “thank you” is often more about being polite than showing gratitude. There are easy ways to teach them how to express gratitude, however, especially on a day that is meant to acknowlege all the things we are grateful for.
In Chinese, the word for Thanksgiving Day is “感恩節/感恩节 (gǎnēn jié)”. This literally means “to feel thankful” + “holiday”.
So, “你怎么庆祝感恩节？(Nǐ zěnme qìngzhù gǎn’ēn jié?) How will you celebrate Thanksgiving?”
When young children are involved it usually entails fun crafts. There are many crafts that allow children to practice thinking what they are thankful for with the help of their parents, of course since it’s not simple to instill gratitude in our children. It’s a tough notion especially for younger children to grasp, and trying to instill this crucial lesson may be a tedious process. Don’t worry, there are a few simple methods to teach your children appreciation that won’t take up too much of their time.
The first activity is a classic. It’s meant to look like a “火鸡 (huǒ jī) turkey”. It involves colored construction paper or cardstock, markers, and glue.
1. Help your child cut the head, body, wings, and feet of a turkey out of construction paper. Feel free to use any craft items to help them decorate their turkey including the paper and markers.
2. Using cardstock or construction paper, cut 6-12 feathers depending on how old the child is. Then, on each feather, have the child write something they are grateful for.
3. Next, glue the pieces together and display the turkey so your child can revisit what they are thankful for..
Here are some options that your child could choose from to write on the turkey tail feathers.
● 家人 (jiārén) family
● 大餐 (dàcān) feast
● 宠物 (chǒngwù) pet
● 朋友 (péngyǒu) friend
● 玩具 (wánjù) toys
For the next activity you could have them list their favorite foods that they are grateful to have called “mirror buffet menu”.
Have older kids write a menu of their most loved foods with a water-based paint pen on a new or vintage mirror. Afterwards it’s easy to wash it off with soapy water.
● 南瓜派 (nánguā pài) pumpkin pie
● 苹果派 (píngguǒ pài) apple pie
● 烤火鸡 (kǎo huǒjī) roasted turkey
● 红莓酱 (hóngméi jiàng) cranberry sauce
● 土豆泥 (tǔdòu ní) mashed potatoes
● 地瓜 (dìguā) sweet potatoes
● 玉米(yùmǐ) corn
● 烤红薯泥 (kǎo hóngshǔ ní) sweet potato casserole
When kids have a hard time understanding gratitude we can remind them that it’s about concentrating on the positive aspects of our lives and being grateful for what we already have. And that gratitude is taking the time to observe and appreciate the things we take for granted, such as having a home, food, clean water, friends, family, and even computer access.
There are activities to further help children understand and practice gratitude as well.
Make Gratitude a Custom.
Talking about thankfulness at the dinner table is an easy approach to incorporate gratitude into your family’s daily lives. Each night at supper, have everyone make a note of one thing they like about their day. This teaches youngsters that even on difficult days, there is always something to be grateful for – even if it’s only that we made it through. Gratitude writing may be beneficial for older children, as well as an excellent exercise for adults.
Keep a Gratitude Diary
Because not everyone enjoys expressing thanks verbally, encourage your youngster to write it down instead. Spend a few minutes each day jotting down the finest things that have occurred, but don’t force them to share it. It might be their own personal reflection spot.
Encouraging your kid to express appreciation can help them build resilience and develop life skills. When done as a family, it can help to deepen bonds and bring awareness into your daily routine.
Once your child understands how gratitude works then they will be able to implement it into their daily lives. And they may also want to express thanks for the day they get to spend time with their parents with “感恩节快乐! (Gǎn’ēn jié kuàilè!) Happy Thanksgiving Day!”