Begin a 30-Day Thankful Challenge with Your Family

🦃 Fun Idea for Thanksgiving or ANY Time of Year

By Melissa Hucal November 1, 2017

"It is not happy people who are thankful. It is thankful people who are happy." –Unknown

As the calendar turns to November, our thoughts inevitably turn to Thanksgiving. Yes, it’s a holiday celebrated on the fourth Thursday of the month complete with an amazing meal with all the trimmings. But thanksgiving is also an attitude — one that most parents strive to pass on to their children.

In a world that is quick to emphasize status, worth, and stuff, it’s easy to lose sight of what we DO have and even easier to not make the time to really appreciate it.

But being intentional about raising kids with an attitude of thanksgiving has long-term benefits.

In fact, an article published in Family Circle magazine cites research from Jeffry Froh, PsyD, an assistant professor of psychology at Hofstra University in Hempstead, New York that found that middle school students who focused on the things for which they were grateful for just two weeks were more optimistic, more satisfied with school, and more generous than those students who only focused on hassles and the negative.

Clinical psychologist Eleanor Mackey concurs in a Washington Post article where she states, "Generally speaking, it’s like anything else: It takes time and energy to raise grateful kids, but if you make it a priority, it is doable, and the payoff can be enormous" in terms of healthier, more balanced young people.

One of the best ways to raise kids who are grateful and exhibit an attitude of thanksgiving is to be a great role model. Kids will be grateful when we show them how.

So why not use the month of November as a catalyst growing gratefulness in your family by participating in a 30-day "Thankful Challenge"?

Each day during the month of November, make a conscious effort as a family to recognize at least one thing you are thankful for. Start off with the small things (creamer for your coffee or fuzzy socks) and then move on to the big things (a job after unemployment, a good bill of health after illness). The objective is to just take some time each day to be thankful.

You can make it more effective by making it visual! Here are two ways that you can keep your "Thankful Challenge" right in front of you.

Use a chalkboard to write down your daily thanks. You can add to it throughout the month or start new each week or day. Hang your chalkboard thankful board in the room where your family spends the most time.

Create a Tree of Thanks with some branches from your yard and some paper leaves. Add a leaf to the branches for each thing you are thankful for and watch your tree grow! This idea makes a great holiday centerpiece for your table.