Don’t wait until the Thanksgiving meal to help kids focus on their blessings – and how they differ from wants and needs. Try this activity at bedtime.

Teaching kids to be thankful all year long

At this time of year, people focus on what makes them feel thankful. That presents a good opportunity to develop self-awareness skills by talking to kids about wants, needs and blessings, so that they learn to recognize how they differ.

At bedtime, or some other relaxed moment during the day, try asking your kid to name a want, a need and a blessing. Give them some examples:

  • BLESSING: Parents who love me.
  • NEED: Food and water
  • WANT: A new video game

Doing this works with any age group. Try it for a few days, or a week leading up to Thanksgiving. Help kids understand why certain answers may not fit the category.

Some key points:

  • You won’t always get the things you want.
  • It’s important to ask yourself: Is what I want (or want to do), something that I really truly need?
  • There are probably lots of things you want – that’s great.
  • Sometimes we just want things to make life easier or more fun.

You can vary the activity by asking, if you could have one thing in the whole world, what would it be? Then ask: Is the one thing you want something that would help you in life?

At WINGS we teach that when we talk about the things we want and the things we need, it’s important to remember what we are already lucky to have. These are our blessings. When you want something and can’t get it, it helps to remember your blessings.

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