Whenever November rolls around, there is a lot of talk about Thankfulness. Sincere gratitude is so important. It helps counter act the sense of entitlement that we can all tend to have, and leads to more contentment and happiness in our lives. Plus, when you express thankfulness to others, it brightens their days as well. Teaching toddlers thankfulness is especially important and challenging. #SimplyHealthy #CollectiveBias
However, if you have a toddler, you might have noticed that thankfulness is not always something that comes naturally or easily to them. It can be frustrating to see how naturally your three year old can ask for more and more and more and how unnatural it seems sometimes to get them to express true gratitude. Recently I read this wonderful article about Teaching Thankfulness to Toddlers in the digital Healthy Living Made Simple App on my phone by Tovah Klein, author, mother, and psychologist. Dr. Klein describes how thankfulness is not something that is natural or even easy to understand for 2 and 3 year olds. She encourages parents to be patient and not to worry when you're child's first reaction to a gift is to look for another one instead of to say thank you. One of the best ways to teach thankfulness to your toddler, she says, is to lead by example and to talk about what it means to be thankful with your toddler.
I wanted to spend time talking with my sweet 3 year old daughter, Lyla, about being thankful. And of course when it comes to Lyla the best way to get her attention is to get crafty and to bring out the glitter. We talked a lot about how many wonderful things and people she has in her life, and about all of the things she has to be thankful for. Since it's fall, we decided to make a glittery leaf banner that lists lots of things Lyla is thankful for.
What you need:
1. Cereal boxes or kraft paper cardstock
3. Mini hole punch
5. A Sharpie
6. Mod Podge (we used the washable kid kind!)
What you do:
1. Cut out a lot of leaf shapes. I traced the same shape over and over, but I wasn't too precise.
2. Punch two small holes in the tops of each leaf.
3. Write things that your toddler is thankful for on each leaf. Help give ideas and suggestions, but don't discount the little things (like Lyla's soft pants, haha).
4. Use Mod Podge to cover the tips of all of the leaves. Then sprinkle on ultra fine glitter. Lyla LOVES helping with the Mod Podge and glitter. I'm almost surprised those weren't the first two things on her thankful list.
5. Once the Mod Podge has dried, dust off the extra glitter and string the leaves along your twine, ribbon, or string. I used a little washi tape to secure the leaves to the string.
6. Hang and enjoy. Looking at the thankful banner is also a great conversation starter to think of more things to be thankful for.
Lyla and I really had fun talking about some of her favorite things. Be sure to check out the Healthy Living Made Simple online magazine and app, brought to you by Sam's Club. You can also download the free app on your iPhone or iPad and check out some of the articles on the go.
...and Lyla, I think we're all very thankful for cake!
How do you teach your toddler to be thankful?