As Thanksgiving approaches, we (rightfully) start to think about being thankful. Most of us have plenty of food to eat, clothes to wear, places to live, families to love, and more! Sometimes we take for granted all of the blessings we enjoy every day, and that is often even more true for our children. If you want to help your children truly stop and think about how blessed they are and help them bless others during the Thanksgiving season, you might want to have them participate in this thankfulness project for kids!
This idea came to me when I was thinking about something a sweet friend did for me several years ago. This friend worked with my daughter (who is 23 years old and has severe autism) for a few hours each week for nearly 20 years! She hardly ever took a week off. She always showed up on time. She always showed up cheerful and ready to work. She never fussed or complained. She never got paid. And yet one year at Thanksgiving, she sent me a thank you card!
She thanked me for allowing her to come into my home once a week to work with my daughter. She thanked me for sharing the blessing of my daughter with her. She thanked me for challenging her and holding her to a high standard as she worked with my daughter. She thanked me for the chance to do something hard and follow through with it and for the feeling of joy that came from it. That card was such a blessing to me! I’ll never forget it!
I remember reading that card and thinking that I should be the one sending her a card. Yes, I said thank you to her each week when she arrived or as she left. I hugged her and told her how much I appreciated what she was doing to help my daughter and to give me a break. I tried to make her feel appreciated. However, it occurred to me that a hand-written, heart-felt card might have made her feel special and particularly loved and appreciated.
It also occurred to me that we don’t take the time to handwrite cards anymore. And we don’t teach our children the importance of sending cards to friends or others who’ve done nice things for us. But I’d like to challenge you to change that, and this thankfulness project is the perfect opportunity!
Whether you’re reading this at Thanksgiving or some other time of the year, I challenge you to set aside a few minutes each day to help your children write thank you cards and mail them (or hand deliver them if you’d rather) to people who are important to them. I personally love the idea of mailing them, but a hand-delivered note is always nice too!
Rules for Thankfulness Project
Good news! There aren’t any rigid rules for this thankfulness project challenge! You can do it in whatever way best fits your family. But here’s what I suggest:
- Decide how many days you want to work on this thankfulness project. For example, you might decide for each child to write one letter each day for a week.
- Decide which days you want to work on it, and set aside time for it. If you don’t block out time, other things will come up and your project won’t get done.
- Make sure you have pretty paper, envelopes, and stamps on hand (if you plan to mail your letters).
- Make sure you have addresses for the recipients (if you plan to mail your letters).
- Then do it! Sit down together, write your notes, and mail them or deliver them to the special people you want to thank.
Fun (and free!) stationery for your thankfulness project!
Sometimes it’s more fun to write when you have some fun stationery to write on. We have some fun stationery for you to download to use for this project or for any other time your children need to write thank-you notes. There are several designs for younger children, and a couple of designs for older children or teens too!
Here are a couple of the designs, but you can get all six using the link below:
Not sure who to thank?
I think it’s a nice idea to try to think of people who don’t normally get recognized or thanked for what they do for us. And I think it’s important to start teaching our children to notice these people too.
For example, is there a person at your local grocery store who always smiles at you and helps you find what you need? Is there a librarian who helps your children find good books to read? What about the doctor or nurse who went the extra mile to help your sick child feel better or less frightened during a visit to the doctor’s office? What about your neighbor who takes care of your dog when you’re on vacation? Or even the waitress who did such a great job serving your family when you went out to eat?
It’s so important to teach your kids ways to practice gratitude on a regular basis. Here are some suggestions for people your children might want to connect with via this thankfulness project:
- Teacher (art, Sunday school, co-op, theater, dance, etc.)
- Coach (sports coaches)
- Cashier at a local store
- Doctor or nurse
- Aunt or uncle
- Mail carrier
- Delivery person (UPS, FedEx, etc.)
- Custodian (at work, church, etc.)
Keep in mind:
But be sure to keep in mind that you want your children to write these letters from their own perspectives. If your children are very young, you may have to help them do the writing, but be sure to write it as if it’s coming from each child in his/her own words. You want the letters to be heartfelt, not perfect!
Join in the thankfulness fun!
And please join in the fun if you can! If your children are old enough to write their own letters and don’t need a lot of help from you, it would be a great example for you to sit down with them and write your own letters to people you want to thank.
If you have some ideas for people to add to the list above, be sure to leave a comment below! Who are you and your children going to thank?