Now that the 2016 election is finally over, we can focus on Thanksgiving. It's best we teach our children to express gratitude for what we have and to work for an even better future. And you can start right now with your Thanksgiving preparations. Here's how the kids can help out.

Put Them to Work

Kids actually love to help out in the kitchen, and the earlier they start, the better. It not only gives them a sense of pride and accomplishment, but it allows them to be thankful for the food in front of them. Rather than seeing their meal as something magical that appeared on their plates ready for them to turn their noses up at, they will see their food as something they worked to create. That will make them not only more likely to try new foods and flavors, but maybe even be grateful for the foods they don't like. 


This is the perfect time of year to start volunteering as a family. Whether you help out in a soup kitchen, buy gifts for children in need, create a Thanksgiving meal basket for a family in need, or sponsor a child in a third world country, there's no way to go wrong. Explain to your children why you are volunteering. Talk to them about the people throughout the world who are struggling just to put food on the table. Bring them with you to donate items or hand out food to the homeless. Telling them is not the same as showing them. Seeing with their own eyes, especially on a consistent basis, will teach your children that even if they don't get the "next big thing" for Christmas, they have a lot to be thankful for.

Create a Gratitude Board

Break out the arts and crafts and get creative with the kids. Build a gratitude board and encourage the kids to draw pictures or write out all the things they are grateful for in their lives. From the small — like a favorite stuffed animal — all the way to their family members, there's no wrong answer. You should include your own ideas as well.

Tell Them What You Are Grateful For

All our children know about us is what is right in front of them. Life before their arrival in our world is non-existent to them. Talk to them about the struggles you faced, the tough decisions you had to make, and why you are so grateful for what you have, including them. Keep it all age-appropriate, of course, but make sure your children know how hard you work to give them the life they have.

We all have at least one thing to be grateful for, even when life feels like it's at its lowest point.