A few years ago, I was looking for ways to help my kids understand what is important about the holiday season from as young an age as possible. I decided to start a gratitude practice with my kids in November.
My youngest was 14 months old at the time, so she didn’t fully understand, but my son, then almost 3, got so into it that I decided to make it an annual tradition for as long as it lasts. It’s called Thankful Turkey. It’s all over Pinterest and other parenting blogs these days, but I first spotted this idea on the Busy Toddler, one of my absolute favorite free online resources for toddler moms (something I’ve shared before). My kids are now 5.5 and 4, and they still love coming up with things they are thankful for. It’s fun for me to see how what they’re grateful for has evolved as they get older.
Thankful Turkey is so easy, something even us craft-challenged busy moms can handle. Supplies needed (which most moms of littles probably have on hand!): colorful construction paper, tape or glue, scissors, and a black Sharpie. That’s it. Then, you just cut out shapes and assemble a basic turkey with some colorful feathers.
Each day – we do it over breakfast – the kids come up with something they are thankful for. Then, if they are old enough, you (or your kids) write that on a feather and tape or glue the feather to the turkey. At the end of the month (or week or day, however long you choose to do it), you can reflect on all of the things you are thankful for.
It is so much fun to see what kids – especially toddlers – come up with. Last year, my son chose his sister as the first “thing” he was thankful for last year, which was so sweet. You can prompt them by asking them about their favorite people, things, and feelings. Or, ask, “What do you love so much?” I’m curious to see how ours evolves over the years as my kids get older (mom hack: save your turkey and just cut out new feathers each year to make it easier).