Thanksgiving can be a fun holiday because it is all about taking time to remember some great things that God has done for us over the past year.
Our Practical Parenting activity this month is called Give Thanks Pumpkins, and here is how it works…
- Medium to large size pumpkin (depending on the size of your family) – if you cannot find a pumpkin, print one off!
- Sharpie or other permanent marker
This month’s Practical Parenting is all about connecting emotionally with your kids. We have a million things to be thankful for and our practice should be to give God thanks for all the things He has given us…both big and small.
After each “Give Thanks” session, take a minute to pray (either individually or as the adult) for the things you as a family are thankful for. We know that God is the giver of all good things, so taking time to give Him thanks helps to remind your kids Who is responsible for the good things in their life.
Each day, starting on the day you get the pumpkin, each person in your family will be asked to say one thing they are thankful for and why. After each answer is given, summarize that answer into one word that can be written on the pumpkin.
- Depending on the maturity and age of your kids (those don’t always directly correlate), you may get some silly answers. Go with it! They may be thankful for their grandparents one day and pooping the next (we all know thatmiddle schooler!), and that’s ok. This is where the why comes in. Their answer may be off the wall, but giving them time to answer why means that they have to think a little deeper. Also remember that you have 10 days…so don’t expect sappy answers every day! Go with the flow and make sure to give your kids some grace because while every answer won’t be serious, every answer won’t be goofy either.
- Consistency and inclusion are key! Everyone in your family needs to participate in the activity…and yes, that means both parents! Your kids will engage as much as you do, so make sure that you are involved and that you do it consistently! There will be days where you are tired, frustrated and simply, not thankful. But, this is where practical parenting comes into play. It’s in those moments that we have an opportunity to teach our kids that there is plenty to be thankful for even on bad days.
- Bonus tip: if you know that your schedule is going to be super busy, start a group text asking your students what they are thankful for that day. You can write it on the pumpkin when you get a chance to be together again, but busyness shouldn’t keep you from finding something you’re thankful for.
- It may be best to schedule your “Give Thanks” time later in the day. Depending on how your family schedule works, each day may be different, but giving yourself a large chunk of the day to be reminded of things your thankful for can be helpful to keep things fresh. However, if your evenings are too chaotic, then take time at breakfast or lunch, or in the car going home from school to give thanks. If dad or mom are at work when you do it, make sure to get a text or video message from the missing family member beforehand, so that they are included in the time. Work to make it a habit to give thanks as a complete family, but in the same way, don’t be so stuck to doing it together that you skip several days when life gets busy.
- Don’t be surprised when it is awkward as a family when you first begin…that’s natural. As you go continue to give thanks throughout the 10 days, it will get easier and more impactful.