I’m so excited about this guest post from my friend, Leighanna. I’ve known her since 2011; I met her in the first small group we joined after being at our church for nearly two years. Leighanna has 3 little boys (and is due very soon), and she is an example to me in so many ways. While I don’t get to see her in person anymore as much as I’d like, I’m thankful for Instagram and text messaging so that we can keep in touch.
When she shared her “Thankful Chain” idea the other day, I was super excited to try out this activity with my own kids. But rather than reinvent the wheel, I figured I’d let her tell you all about it herself! She’s inspired by Psalm 106:1, “Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good” to teach her boys about thankfulness using a paper chain! Read on.
“Give thanks to the LORD, for He is good.” 1 Chronicles 16:34
November is quickly approaching and along with it a unique opportunity to teach our children the skill of being thankful. This is something we can and should be teaching our children daily, but I want to be intentional going into this season with my children in a fun and tangible way. I have three little boys, ages 5, 3 and 2. We are also expecting our fourth blessing in the month of November, which makes these upcoming weeks that much sweeter for our family.
The idea is simple – paper chains and a daily prompt. Some prompts will get them thinking. Some are simple. My prompts are geared toward preschoolers, but you could easily gear your prompts towards older children or yourself. You can Google “Ann Voskamp’s 1000 gifts” or “gratitude journal” for ideas. Or you could use the same prompt every day.
These are the prompts we will be using throughout the month:
- Thank you God for _____
- I am grateful for (person) today _____
- Today I’m thankful for _____
- I felt joyful today when _____
- The best part of my day was _____
- Today I’m grateful for _____
- I am so lucky. One reason is _____
- Today was great because _____
- Today I enjoyed doing _____
- Today I felt God’s blessings when _____
- My favorite food is _____
- I love _____
- I’m thankful I learned how to _____
- My favorite color is _____
- Today I showed kindness when _____
- I love my siblings because _____
- My favorite book is _____
- I am thankful I can _____
- My favorite season is _____
My boys are little and most days I expect to get one word answers, but I can almost guarantee some of their answers are going to have us laughing and leave me dumbfounded on how to point them to Jesus. But their answers will give me a glimpse into each of their precious hearts and what they hold dear. I plan to use those answers to point them to Jesus and who those blessings come from. And I will trust that the seeds that are being planted during this season will one day reap a harvest.
For example: “My favorite color is ___” can open up a conversation about why we should be thankful to God for the many colors he created. Colors are one way we can visibly see His majesty!
“Every good and perfect gift is from above.” James 1:17
My prayer is to have them reflect, daily, on all that we have to be thankful for. We are so blessed by Christ. In so many little ways that we can overlook if we aren’t searching for him. Even at a young age, I want their eyes to be open to God’s goodness, His mercy, and His grace. I want them to stand at His feet and marvel at who He is and what He has done for His people. And as the month progresses, they will be able to visibly see their chain grow and be able to count all the ways God has blessed us as a family. May they always have thankful hearts!
“Start children off on the way they should go, and even when they are old they will not turn from it.” Proverbs 22:6
How are you finding ways to model an attitude of gratitude for your children? How can you modify this activity for older or younger children? Leave a comment and let us know!