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I live in England so we don’t tend to celebrate thanksgiving but I have always loved the thought of focusing on thankfulness throughout November to help the kids understand how many blessings God has given us. It is such an important skill to teach the kids to see and appreciate those blessings, even if things are difficult in their lives. And lets be honest, us mammas often need a reminder of Gods goodness too, or we can get caught up in the exhaustion and the moaning! I have put together a list of 5 thankfulness activities to try with your kids this November, to help you all remember how much God has given you.
Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful, and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe, for our “God is a consuming fire.” Hebrews 12 v 28 & 29
1. Kids clothes and toy decluttering
It is so eye opening every time I have a declutter, how much clutter we have! I look around my home and see stuff everywhere, and the craziest thing is I often feel the need for more!
But godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it. But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that. 1 Timothy 6 v 6-8
Get your children together and explain about how some children have so much less then us and that you are going to give away some toys and clothes to help others out. Make it sound exciting as it can be hard to let things go (as we all know), then ask them to help out. Also explain that even if they were left with 1 toy and 1 set of clothes, they can be so thankful for that. Keep talking about how we don’t need stuff to make us feel happy but all we need is God’s love. When we did this, my kids got really into it and started thinking of friends and family that might like certain things. This helped them get excited about giving, which in turn helped them see how much they have to be thankful for.
2. Give to charity
Have 3 or 4 charities in mind before starting this. Research with your children the charities you have chosen and ask the kids to choose one to give to. This could be a one off gift, a monthly giving scheme or a sponsorship. Get the kids involved in deciding what to give. If needed, make it clear to the kids that it may mean going without, in order to help others. They may not get the trip to the soft play or they may not get a magazine or toy… but that it would mean so much to the charity.
Our family sponsor 2 children, one through Compassion and one through a much smaller charity run by some friends. This means monthly donations and sometimes some letter writing which is a really lovely event! With Compassion you can also choose to give extra sums of money at birthdays or Christmas or in times of crisis to your child and their family. Follow the link below if you would like to look into sponsoring a child through compassion.
3. Speaking out things you are grateful for.
We all know that our words are powerful. The bible tells us that
Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruits. Proverbs 18 v 21
So lets speak out the things we are grateful for and do it often. This must be modelled by parents first and foremost! If you want your children to grow in this area, you must show them how.
You can do this in a number of ways… it could be that at breakfast every morning, you all say something you are thankful for. Or maybe, once a week at your Sunday lunch (or other weekly family time) you ask everyone to share their best moments of the week. As often as you remember, speak out things that you appreciate. I would also add that this one is especially important when the thing you are grateful for is a person. Tell them! Give them some encouragement. Let them know specifically what you are thankful for.
4. Get creative
So this is where you can get the paints out, get paper, pens, glitter, leaves, sticks, stones, shells… Whatever you think your kids will enjoy and ask them to show you what they are grateful for. This could become a thank you card or just a picture to display in the kitchen for a while to remind everyone that you are thankful for that thing. I would highly recommend sitting with you kids and doing your own picture of thankfulness too. Seeing you do this will help your kids to stick at it and to give it some good thought.
Lastly, but obviously not least, pray. Pray for God to give you and your children hearts filled with thankfulness. Ask Him to show you all the blessings he has given you. Ask him to turn your mind from self centred moaning to be able to see the beauty that is all around you. This is a prayer that needs to be said over and over again and it is important to pray this with your kids listening. Let them in on your prayer life, it makes them feel very grown up and they love it!
As always, this transformation from self centred to thankful has to start in you. Pray for your heart before you attempt to help your kids with theirs. I’ll be praying for you as you teach your kids to be thankful for all the blessings God has given you.