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Oftentimes, we careen out of Halloween and fly through the month of November to get to the coveted wintry red and green of the Christmas season. With two small children, we can get caught up in the materialism of the season, but I like to think of November and Thanksgiving as a way to add some levity and perspective to a time of “Gimme! Gimme! Gimme!” Teaching toddlers thankfulness starts early and having a well-rounded positive attitude about our blessings help to enhance a life of healthy living! Here are some great ways to put thankfulness back at the forefront of your daily life and work on teaching those little turkeys in your life how to express gratitude. #SimplyHealthy #CollectiveBias
Goodness, I love these little turkeys!
1. Thankfulness starts with Y-O-U!
One of the easiest ways to fall into the grumbling trap of taking the little life’s blessings for granted is when we start the complaining. As a busy mom, it’s easy to find things that are not cooperating with our life expectations, but when we evaluate what’s most important and take stock of each day’s list of thanks, we see just how much we have to be thankful for. One of my favorite exercises throughout the month of November is to list something each day via Facebook status that I am thankful for. It can be anything from the very small (Pumpkin Spice Coffee with French Vanilla creamer) to the abundant (a house with a roof over our head for comfort and protection). The attitude of thankfulness that you spread by an outward acknowledgement of your blessings can help inspire those around you to also consider what they are thankful for each day. Spread the love and prepare our hearts for a true season of giving in December.
Another element of making sure we are thankful is to make sure that we are keeping healthy living at the top of our priority list. Regular exercise, healthy eating and staying positive can all help contribute to a wonderful thankful attitude and ensure that we are living life to its fullest. One of the easiest ways to be sure that we are taking care of ourselves is through Sam’s Club Healthy Living Made Simple Magazine. Available online or through the Healthy Living Made Simple app (only available for the iPhone and iPad currently), Healthy Living Made Simple Magazine provides helpful information to you and your family, including inspiring stories of people who have overcome the odds, make healthy living a top priority or provide useful information on how to care for yourself and your family. I love the fact that the app is available to me on the go which means when the boys are enjoying an activity outside, I can catch up on all things relevant to health and wellness for our growing crew.
The App is simple to use and customize. I love that I can find a Sam’s club at a moment’s notice. Browse articles quickly without opening each magazine on the app and customize favorites based on my needs and likes!
2. Don’t be a Turkey! Craft Up Your Thankfulness
With two rambunctious boys who are now in school, crafts are a huge part of their life (and my closet!) Since I don’t often have the time to sit and cut, glue and color it up, I thought this would be the perfect chance to share about what we are thankful for by making some colorful turkeys! Not to mention, the bonus of practicing those school skills, such as cutting along the lines, practicing our colors and discovering a bit more about our craft preferences. These crafts are relatively simple to put together and you most likely have everything you need already.
The first turkey uses leftover cardboard, scrapbook paper, glue, scissors, googly eyes, and crayons or markers. I cut out a basic turkey body shape and traced feathers for the boys to practice cutting out. I let them color the turkey and then glue the feathers on. (Don’t forget to add a beak and wattle – that red dangly thing!) Once the rest was dry, I let them glue on the eyes and we talked about different things we were thankful for.
We talked about the importance of always being grateful for the things we have. I added each of their blessings to the feathers outside of the turkey. They seemed to mimic one another and games was at the top of their list. In teaching toddlers thankfulness, it’s important to remember that they select choices based off their own mini-worldview, so in that moment, crackers, juice or a treasured blankie or toy may make the list. Try not to minimize their choices, but instead praise the fact that they have shared one of their life’s blessings with you!
The other paper takes a traced outline of their hand and colorful feathers once again. Encourage them to color the paper and work on mixing colors, staying within the lines and adding details to the turkey such as eyes, a beak and legs. Once completed, ask them one thing they are thankful for and write it on the paper somewhere. These are great ideas for decorating a Thanksgiving table or passing along to grandparents, aunts or uncles as a token that you’re thinking about them.
I love his focused concentration. He really wants to make sure he gets it right!
3. Create a Thankfulness Bucket
Using popsicle sticks and a decorative fall basket or bucket, create thankful sticks. Each night over dinner, have each family member list one thing they are thankful for and write them on the popsicle stick. Once you arrive at Thanksgiving, take time to reflect on all you are thankful for throughout the month. From the very big to the itty bitty, it’s important to remember all we have been blessed with! Kids will love sharing their gratitude and talking about what they love throughout the month. If they are able to write the blessings themselves, then allow them to practice their penmanship. Otherwise, have siblings help or write them out yourself. These little reminders will help to foster a heart of thankfulness all season. You might even consider dating and saving the sticks each year, so you can reminisce on what you were thankful for a few years ago in comparison to the present day.
How do you foster a spirit of thankfulness all season long? Do you find that having a spirit of gratitude sets you up for a life of healthy living?