Happy Thanksgiving friends!  Some of you read my devotional on Proverbs 31 today.  Gratitude is something we want to cultivate and encourage in the heart of our kids (and ourselves!).  Gratitude doesn’t always occur naturally…and may need some prodding.

My daughter Noelle and I returned from Chicago from a wonderful business/mother-daughter trip.  It was awesome!  With hamburgers this size, no wonder our kids feel entitled – ha ha!

Dr. Gary Chapman and I wrote about raising relational kids in this screen-driven world…kids who are appreciative, not entitled.

Here are 5 ways you can help your kids have a thankful heart.  You can do a few of these things today on Thanksgiving!  And of course, expressing gratitude is appropriate every single day of the year.

1. Save money for a Cause – Sponsor a child through a relief organization (we sponsor kids with Compassion International and Latin American Childcare), buy a well for a needy family in the Third World, or send toys with Samaritan’s Purse at Christmas (Operation Christmas Child).  You can keep a jar in a central location so everyone can contribute their loose change and bills.  Be creative – maybe you can skip dessert for a week and put the money you save into the jar.

2. Be a Good Neighbor – Bake cookies or brownies for your neighbors just because.  Attach a note of appreciation “Thanks for being a great neighbor!” and have your children sign it.  Deliver the cookies together and make sure your children see how the neighbors respond.

3. Write a Treasured Note – Have your child think of someone important in her life: a teacher, coach, pastor, or relative.  Have her complete this sentence in her note:  You have made a difference in my life because ____________________.

4. Keep a Gratitude Journal – Have your child write up to five things they are grateful for each day.  At the end of the week, have your child read the list aloud to the family.

5. Play Grateful Hot Potato – Have your family sit in a circle.  It doesn’t matter if you use a potato, ball, rolled up socks, or stuffed animal.  The object of the game is to say something you are grateful for and then pass the hot potato to the next family member.  If you can’t come up with anything new to say within five seconds, you are out.

Look for things each day to express gratitude about and say it out loud with your children.  No matter what the circumstance, we can say “I am thankful for Jesus; He has done great things for me!”

Arlene Pellicane

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