Tips For Tots: Being Thankful

By Anne A. McGrady

Thanksgiving is a time when people of all ages, nationalities and backgrounds come together to celebrate what they are thankful for in their lives.

At this special time of the year, Thanksgiving, spend some time with your child and talk about the "true meaning" of Thanksgiving. Give your child a special role at the Thanksgiving table and allow him or her to lead a short dinner prayer.
Make a list together of all the important things you and your family are thankful for and have those thoughts always be an important part of your yearly celebration.

In dealing with being thankful, manners should be taught in small segments and appeal to the tot's self-interest.
Tots need to be told that both adults and children will be more pleasant if tot shows consideration to other people. Manners are not just do's and don'ts list to follow, rather they involve being kind and thankful to people tot sees every day and a positive way to make others feel good.


• Always model the behavior you wish for your tot to follow.

• Be realistic in goals you set for your tots-always appropriate to tots age.

• Power plays give tots a chance to say "thank you" "please" etc. Do not insist that these magic words accompany after every each request. Tot will begin to learn that you would be happier to hear these magic words.

• Keep criticism to a minimum when reminding. State rules without criticism. 
• Make manners and thanking fun. If thank you notes are the task at hand, have child draw a picture and then print his name. Disregard the struggle to get his/her name printed perfectly. Task may be too difficult for him/her.

• Consider other people's feelings. Always teach tot to respect others rules and preferences when they are not as tot has learned.

 • As tots mature, they will slowly begin to understand what good manners means and they will understand that when they extend good manners the reward will be returned as people show their good manners to them.



“Thanksgiving Graces,” Mark Moulton, 2011, Ideal Pub., 5-8 years. A young boy and his family prepare for their annual Thanksgiving feast and the house fills up with friends some unexpected and the old spirit of Thanksgiving is enjoyed.

“The First Thanksgiving - A Lift the Flap Board Book,” Nancy Davis, 3 and up. A colorful, delightful lift the flap book tells the story of the first Thanksgiving from the Pilgrims sailing to America to enjoying feast with the Native Americans.


• Trace your child's hand on brown paper (bag or construction paper or use white & color brown).

• The thumb will be the turkey head. Decorate eyes, beak and wattle (red) using crayons.

• The other fingers will be the feathers on the tail. Color different colors.

• At bottom of turkey, add turkey legs — a straight line down & at end a "V."