Increase Thanksgiving Fun by Making Kids Feel Appreciated

Everyone needs to feel appreciated. Adults, though, have had time to develop a strong sense of identity and most can maintain self-esteem even when not getting praise regularly from others. Children, however, have fewer coping skills, so when they receive little or no attention, kids often think there is something wrong with them.

During the Thanksgiving holidays, parents can take time to reinforce a child's sense of belonging and importance to the family.

The Massachusetts Children's Trust Fund, which works to prevent child abuse and neglect by strengthening and supporting families, offers the following ideas:

  • Involve your kids in the planning and preparation of the Thanksgiving meal. This is an opportunity to demonstrate that a child is a needed member of the family team.
  • During the meal, ask each family member to state what they are most thankful for. Parents should give some reasons why they are thankful to have a particular child in their lives.
  • Recount happy memories of your childhood Thanksgiving. Describe to kids how you're now able to relive many of those memories because you have them.
  • Pull out the family albums and look over pictures with your child, paying particular attention to those featuring the two of you together and recalling the activities of the time.
  • Let your child choose an activity for the two of you to do together-a way for him or her to get your undivided attention while demonstrating a skill and sharing an interest. Or, ask to participate in an activity that your child has been doing alone, perhaps because you simply did not have the time to join in earlier.
  • And don't forget to stop during the holiday rush and hug your children. Sometimes a hug can do what all the talks and gifts can't.


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