The more kids can practice giving thanks, the easier and more natural expressing gratitude becomes for them. Given how many positive benefits we get from saying thanks, it’s never too early to start giving kids those chances. Whether for Thanksgiving or any time of year, make a simple tree of thanks together, and bolster your family’s gratitude practice—maybe even start a new family tradition!
Gathering sticks and other nature materials taps into the “transporting schema,” a universal behavior pattern that children exhibit and that experts associate with brain and body development. Making a tree from found objects together is also a marvelous exercise to support creative thinking. Taking time to do something special and symbolic together also reinforces family values and the importance of connecting and sharing with one another. If this becomes a tradition, the positive effects will persist and grow. Finally, children and adults alike receive a myriad of benefits from practicing gratitude.