30 Days of Thanks for Families - Week One

  • 01 of 07

    Day 1 - Please and Thank You

    Raise kids who know the value of a thank you. Photo © Dawn D. Hanna / Getty Images

    Teach your kids to be thankful and show empathy toward others. For the next 30 days, try one activity a day with your kids that shows appreciation for others and teaches thankfulness at the same time. For the first day of 30 days of thanks for families, start with the basics of manners.

    Most parents teach their kids to say, "please" and "thank you." The trick is to get them to use these words regularly instead of you having to continually remind them.

    Issue them a challenge today....MORE Set a number, such as 10, and tell your kids they need to say "please" or "thank you" that number of times in the day.

    Get your children used to saying these simple words that mean so much to you and to others they encounter in their days. This fun game can be played daily until they make "please" and "thank you" a part of their everyday vocabulary.

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  • 02 of 07

    Day 2 - Send a Thank You

    A child writes a thank you note
    Teaching kids to write thank you notes is an excellent lesson in manners. Photo © Apryl Duncan

    Learning how to send thank you notes is a skill kids can use throughout their lifetime. From writing thank you notes to friends and family for their birthday gifts to penning a thank you note to a potential new boss after a job interview, the thank you note holds a powerful message.

    Today, you and your child will pick someone who deserves a thank you note. It could be a friend who recently had your child over for a play date or a relative who invited your family to dinner. You can also surprise...MORE someone with a thank you note, such as a teacher or neighbor, and simply have your child tell why they're thankful for that person.

    Make sending thank you cards something your child does automatically. They can make their cards special to get them excited about sending a thank you note and they can show their appreciation for others too.

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  • 03 of 07

    Day 3 - Hold the Door

    Hold the door for someone and make them smile. Photo © Laurence Monneret / Getty Images
    Little kids love to hold the door open. Today you'll show them how to hold the door open for other people.

    Make sure they get the door fully open so people can enter without tripping over your child. Kids have a knack for barely cracking the door open and then standing right in the doorway. And if your children are too young to open heavy doors, you can give them a helping hand, of course.

    Most people will tell your child, "Thanks!" Now is a great time to teach your kids that they can...MORE reply, "You're welcome" or "Have a nice day!"

    This exercise shows your children they can do something nice for other people every day with the simple action of holding open a door. As an added bonus, people will show their appreciation back by saying, "Thanks."

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  • 04 of 07

    Day 4 - Start a Photo Project

    Start a photo project with your kids. Photo © woodenmask / Flickr

    We often talk about what we're thankful for but now you can turn thanks into a visual project. Give your kids a camera and let them capture who and what they're thankful for through pictures.

    They may take photos of their house, their siblings, you and their pets. Encourage them to capture images of everything they're thankful for, such as your family meals, a friendly game of soccer in the backyard with their pals, etc.

    Your goal is to help them see thanks in everything they do. Step...MORE back from this project and see what your kids come up with on their own. You may be pleasantly surprised to find out how many ways your kids can find thanks in their lives.

    As they start to build a photo collection, organize the pictures so you can make a scrapbook or even build a website together. It's a great way to keep their interest in the thankful photo project going long after the 30 Days of Thanks challenge is over.

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  • 05 of 07

    Day 5 - Fill a Thankful Jar

    Make a thankful jar and fill it with lots of thankful memories. Photo © snarledskein / Flickr

    What is your family thankful for? You can fill a jar with all of the many thanks they can find during the day so today you're creating a thankful jar with your children.

    Take a clear jar and set it somewhere everyone can see it. Cut strips of paper and keep them and a pen right next to the jar.

    Everyone should write something they're thankful for on the paper at least once a day. Then they add their paper to the jar.

    When the jar is full, set aside some family time where all of you can sit...MORE together and read the strips of paper to each other. Start over with new paper and an empty jar to keep the fun going.

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  • 06 of 07

    The 4-Hour Flower

    A single flower can brighten someone's day. Photo © T.Kiya / Flickr

    Have your kids make a list of six people they are thankful for. Help them think outside of your family for this exercise in thanks. They might include a neighbor, the librarian who leads story time, their pediatrician, etc.

    Buy six fresh flowers. Each person on your kids' lists gets one flower.

    But you're not just handing out flowers. Include a note that says something like, "This flower is a token of thanks for always brightening my day. Keep it for four hours and then give it...MORE away."

    Now everyone you've given a flower to will give their flower and card to someone else after four hours to pass along even more thanks. Your children can give their flowers anonymously or, if they tell their recipients who is giving them the flowers, they can follow up in a day or two to see who their recipients gave their flowers to.

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  • 07 of 07

    Visit the Elderly

    Visit the elderly to lift their spirits. Photo © Sharon Mollerus / Flickr

    Today's project can be a collaborative effort for you and your mom friends. Call a local nursing home and ask if it would be okay if your small group could come by to visit some of their residents. Most homes would love to have young visitors to spend time with their residents who are in better health.

    It's usually best to keep very young children at home for this challenge so you're not having to deal with temper tantrums and noisy kids while visiting. The residents and staff will...MORE also appreciate this.

    Before you go to the nursing home, you can create some small gifts for your kids to take the residents. Ask the home's director about how many residents you'll be able to visit so you'll know how many gifts to create. Be sure to make a few extra just in case. Then make everything from friendship bracelets to small planters for flowers.

    The residents will be so thankful for the time your kids spend with them during the visit so a gift isn't necessary. It's just an extra cherry on top.

    Week 1 of 30 Days of Thanks for Families | Week 2 of 30 Days of Thanks for Families | Week 3 of 30 Days of Thanks for Families | Week 4 of 30 Days of Thanks for Families