By: Melissa Rosenberger
We are now about nine months into a pandemic that feels like we have been living in a sense of lock-down forever. We have had birthdays, end of school celebrations, a quarantined summer, the start of a virtual or hybrid school year, Halloween, and mail-in ballots all during these past months. Now the holidays are here and we are coming up on a time of year when we typically reflect on how thankful we are for everything in our lives. But this year has been different. Yes we are thankful, but in a different way. How do we show that we are thankful this Thanksgiving even though we are still dealing with Covid-19? Here are a few suggestions to help you and your kids be thankful during a hard year.
When everything but the grocery store, pharmacy, and hospitals closed back in March, we had no idea what we were in for. As families, we pulled together and said that we would get through this. We spent time as families having game nights, cooking together, watching movies, cleaning (even if the kids didn’t help too much), and overall spending time together. We can think about the times that this pandemic has allowed us to spend time with our kids or family members more this year.
1. With your kids or by yourself, write a list of who you are thankful for.
When we have young kids in school, we always get hand painted turkeys or cute arts and crafts that as parents we keep for years. This year we may be sad that we will not have our kids make these at school and bring them home to show us.
2. Have your kids create their own Thanksgiving crafts at home.
This year, we may not be able to have the big celebrations we are custom to having with our families and friends that we have had in the past. Thank goodness for technology! Even though having a computer on the dinner table while having a large turkey on the table may take up a large amount of space, remember we are still able to connect virtually to our family members near and far. It may not feel the same as getting the hugs from your Aunt Elaine or the homemade cranberry sauce by your Aunt Marie, but it is better to keep everyone safe and healthy.
3. Have a Thanksgiving meal with your family virtually.
Every year, while the Thanksgiving meal is being prepared, some of our family members go outside to throw around a football. This year, maybe your kids don’t have anyone to throw the football around with besides their mom or dad. Make it a point that later in the day or before dinner, to play a game, even if it is quick. This may make the kids, along with mom and dad, feel like Thanksgiving is somewhat normal this year.
4. Have the whole family will bundle up and play a game of football just like every year.
We take walks with our families all of the time during this pandemic to get ourselves out of the house and stay active, along with trying not to go stir crazy sitting in the house. As a family, you can go on a walk during this Thanksgiving season and take nature in. There are a million things to be thankful for in nature. As you walk around the neighborhood, a path near your house, or even your backyard, you can take in the nature around you.
5. Make a mental note of all the different things in nature that we can be thankful for.
While we as parents are in the kitchen trying to cook a turkey for the first time, this can be a time to ask our kids to sit and have a time to be mindful. Being mindful doesn’t mean that they have to sit in silence. This can mean that they are sitting with a book reading or coloring. Below are a few coloring pages for kids (and parents) to use to be mindful this Thanksgiving season.
6. Have time during the day to do a mindful activity such as color or read a book.
Having time with family this year and being thankful is what Thanksgiving is about. This year take advantage of having a smaller celebration and take part in some new traditions to remember what Thanksgiving is all about. It is about being thankful for the love we have. Your village may not be with you in person this year, but remember they are there for you virtually.
Download these free coloring pages for you and your kids. Including a Build Your Own Turkey cutout page.
Melissa is a mother of a 17-month-old girl and is finishing up her Master of Social Work degree from the University of New Hampshire while completing an internship with YHAV. Melissa has worked with children, teens, young adults, and families over the course of the past four years.