Thanksgiving is the time of year that we reflect on what we have to be thankful for. As a mom I try hard to teach my children about being thankful. This means more than just teaching them to say thank you when I hand them something. Trying to teach them what they have to be grateful for is not an easy task, but one thing I have learned as a parent is that my kids learn best when they can see, feel, or experience what I am talking about.
To try to help teach my kids that they are very blessed and have lots to be thankful for, we have started a tradition at our house: we make a Thankful Tree every year.
We started this tradition when our oldest daughter was two. We had just moved across the country and it was our first holiday away from family. This project started as a way to teach my kids about thankfulness, but it also was a reminder for myself, since I was away from family and dealing with a toddler and a husband in medical school. This tree did the trick.
To make our Thankful Tree, I drew a big tree trunk on a piece of butcher paper. Then I get yellow, red, and orange construction paper and cut out leaves. If you have a machine that can cut for you (like a Cricut) you will be able to do this a lot faster and easier than you can by hand. Cut out one leaf for each person from the first day of November up until Thanksgiving (or however many days you want to participate!) That means this year each person needs 28 leaves – and I just did the math and that means my family needs 168 leaves. (I may need to invest in a cutting machine!)
Since we now have a huge chalkboard in our kitchen, we decided to make our Thankful Tree there this year and write words instead of leaves. I was lazy and didn’t want to cut out that many leaves. You could also order a vinyl wall decal and write on it with a chalk marker to make it even easier!
Every day as a family, take a couple of minutes to think about what you are thankful for, and each person write one thing on their leaf.
It’s OK if you get some repeats. I love the creative ones that my kids come up with. Having a visual reminder of what you have to be thankful for is such a positive thing to have around the house. On your hard days you can stop and read some leaves and smile thinking about how blessed you have been.
I am thankful for each of the moms in our community.
For the amazing kids they are raising.
For the examples they are to me.
I am thankful to live in a community that cares about its members.
I am thankful for the opportunity to be a mom to my four beautiful little kids who show me unconditional love every day.
I am thankful to have a job that I love.
I am thankful for you.