Thanksgiving’s just around the corner, but the time is always right for kids to start thinking about gratitude. “Lessons of gratitude are learned throughout a lifetime,” says Carleton Kendrick, a family therapist and co-author of Take Out Your Nose Ring, Honey, We’re Going to Grandma’s. Two ways to start planting the seeds of appreciation in your child right now:
Help someone else
With your child, think about who could use a hand. Would a classmate’s family appreciate a home-cooked meal because someone’s in the hospital? Does an elderly neighbor need help running errands? “Volunteering your time gives to other people and shows that you’re grateful for your own fortunate circumstances,” Kendrick says.
Keep a gratitude journal
“Too often, gratitude is a response that comes only when we get something,” Kendrick says. Encouraging your child to write about something she’s grateful for every day—even if she didn’t receive anything—can help her learn to be thankful. For example, did she see anything pretty today, like the autumn leaves that make your front yard look nice?