By Nadine Bubeck
Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday. It’s a universal time when many take an extra moment to count their blessings, because truth be told, we often take for granted the very things that most deserve our gratitude. I’m always looking for ways to instill positive vibes in my sons—values of kindness, and ways to express and acknowledge gratitude. Here are six ideas that families can implement to bring more “warm and fuzzy” into the house this fall.
Create a Kindness Chart
Every time your kids go above and beyond—unasked or prompted—place a sticker on the chart. (Examples can include helping with household tasks or being supportive of a sibling or friend.) For every ten acts of kindness, give them a small prize, and once they get 100, throw a pizza party (or a similar fun prize). The best part about this is it’s a joint effort among siblings, not a competition. It’s not him versus her chart—it’s a shared chart, so they’re working together to be awarded for good deeds.
Recite Positive Affirmations
It’s so important to teach your kids words of affirmation early on. Positive affirmations give a boost in confidence for young children, which helps them develop a positive self-image. Words of affirmation are also a great way to help kids cope when they’re feeling down, upset, scared, or overwhelmed. You can buy kid-targeted affirmation cards (I love Joyful Hearts Co., joyfulheartsco.com) or make your own (a fun DIY project!). Have your child choose a card every morning and during breakfast read it aloud—it’s a very empowering way to start the day.
Journaling is a great way to teach your kids to express themselves and focus on the good in life. There are plenty of gratitude journals aimed for young kids with fill-in-the-blank prompts, making it a simple nightly task. In fact, my oldest and I have a mom-and-son journal that we take turns filling in and reading. It’s a very special activity that we do, and I plan on doing it with each of my boys when they’re ready. Journaling is a positive habit that gives kids a safe place to express their inner thoughts and emotions.
Hand Write Cards
This is simple, sweet, and easy. Especially with all that’s going on in the world, have your kids write a hand-written card to someone they care about or even someone that they don’t know who does good (such as a police officer or fire fighter). Teach them that kind, unexpected words go a long way, and can make someone’s day. Consider it a good time to send “thank you” notes to teachers, law enforcement, and extended family.
Our Thanksgiving ritual is to go around the table and say what we’re thankful for, but this annual practice is nice to incorporate more often. Designate a weekly night to pay each member of your family a compliment. This will teach your kids to accept compliments with grace and give them with sincerity. For parents, some complimentary ideas for our kids include: complimenting our child’s character, their contributions to the family, when they achieve something new, their sense of self, and steps toward a long-term goal.
Reflect On Your Blessings
To be the best for our children, we must strive for being our best selves—so this one is for you, mom, dad and other caregivers. This month, in addition to reflecting on what you’re thankful for, reflect on what your kids have and continue to teach you. Being a parent is tough and it’s not always easy to be positive and peppy. For example, my children have taught me a wealth of patience, true priorities, the art of affection, resilience, to connect with my inner child, and of course, unconditional love.
Nadine Bubeck is a former news anchor turned all things mama. She is a TV parenting/lifestyle/travel contributor, author, influencer, and blessed boy mom times three. Learn more at nadinebubeck.com. Her eldest, Nicholas, is CEO of creationsbynicholas.com.