November 21, 2018

A Thanksgiving Focused on Gratitude

Contributed by Lauren Wierzbicki, Education Specialist

Growing up, most of us celebrated a happy story about the first Thanksgiving — Pilgrims and Native Americans peacefully coming together for the colony’s first successful harvest! Over the years, we’ve discovered that the story we all learned was one perspective told by European colonists which became widely popularized as the years went on. The true story of the Thanksgiving tells a different tale; one that is not developmentally or age-appropriate for young children to learn or understand.

For all ages, Thanksgiving is a perfect opportunity to demonstrate reflection and gratitude for what has happened and what is to come. You’re anticipating a delicious meal, you’ve planned a special outfit for your child, and you’re ready to celebrate with friends and family!

So, what can we do to make this holiday meaningful for young children?
  • At the dinner table, take turns sharing what you’re thankful for. Spark conversation with these questions.
  • Demonstrate generosity – create and deliver “birthday bags” to organizations that serve people in need in your community – have your child make a birthday card to go with it!
  • Share photos of family members from older generations – take the opportunity to teach your child about where their own family comes from.

Here’s to a Thanksgiving full of happiness and gratitude!