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Turkey Day With Your Tot

Thanksgiving is for giving thanks. Despite the materialistic things, Black Friday sales, and fretting over dinner going just right, we need to remember what this holiday is all about.

Do your children know why we celebrate Thanksgiving? Do you show them ways they can give thanks?

Here’s a simple how-to guide, to help encourage thankfulness in your child this Thanksgiving…

Surely at some point your child will have to tag along to the grocery store or to the mall with you as you prepare. Ask them to choose a few canned goods or a warm jacket to donate to your local shelter or food bank. They’ll enjoy getting involved and picking items. Especially with Christmas approaching, it’s nice to have your child choose items for less fortunate children; explaining to them that some kids won’t receive many toys this Christmas.

Ask them what they think those in need would like to eat for Thanksgiving, or what kind of toy you think a child their age would like as a donation.

You could also have them pick some of their gently used toys that they no longer feel attached to. Let them go through their things and choose items they want to donate. It will empower them to understand that these toys they once loved so much are going to a new home, with a child that will be so happy to receive it.

If possible, take your child with you when you go to the donation center or drop-off site. Let them deliver the donations and see what exactly it’s all about. This way they are volunteering their time as well as their things. They actually get to see where the gifts are going and how much people appreciate them.

Although your child will likely learn about Thanksgiving in school, make sure they understand the story. Let them tell you what they’ve learned about their ancestors and the story of the first Thanksgiving. The peace between the Native Americans and settlers is a very important part of our history.

Before you dig in, go around the table and each say what you appreciate today. What are you thankful for? Yes of course, the delicious meal you’re about to eat and your family, but what about something deeper? Encourage your children to explore their imaginations.

If you’d like a resource to teach your child more about the holiday, here is a wonderful selection of Thanksgiving books for kids in preschool to 2nd grade.

Warm wishes this holiday season, Happy Thanksgiving!

Emma 🙂

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Speaking of Marriage

Winifred M. Reilly, M.A., MFT

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