Written by Doctor G

Getting Your Kids Ready for Thanksgiving: Table Manners, Gratitude and Appreciation

With everything going on in the world right now, Thanksgiving can’t come soon enough. It’s a chance to spend time with our loved ones and give thanks and gratitude for the blessings in our life. As adults, we’ve (mostly) learned to appreciate the amazing things we have, but do your kids know how lucky they are? What’s my definition of gratitude? Gratitude is looking at what you have and taking the time to quiet the “I want” voice so you can appreciate what is in your life.

Thanksgiving is a great opportunity to start the conversation about what your children are grateful for. Let them express their thanks for the people and things that they love. Here are my tips for age-appropriate gratitude exercises. I even put together a guide for kids of all ages that you can download with the links below.


Play the “Thank Who?” game with your toddlers. Here’s the script:Kiddo: “Thank you.”Adult: “Thank who?”Kiddo: “Thank you!”Adult: “Thank who?!”Kiddo: “Thank YOU!”Adult: “You’re welcome!”


Download the Ask Doctor G Gratitude for Toddler and Preschool Guide


With your preschooler, have them find three people in your house that they can thank right now. You will love to hear their answers!

Early Elementary

Have your early elementary school age child write down their thanks and use it as place cards for Thanksgiving Dinner. They can make one for each guest. You can also have them draw a picture to go with the sentiment.Use this template:Thanks ___________________ for ______________________


Download the Ask Doctor G Gratitude for Early Elementary and Late Elementary Kids Guide


Download the Placecard


Download the Gratitude Grab Bag Tickets

Older Elementary

Make a Gratitude Grab Bag! Encourage your child to find 3 people to surprise with a note of appreciation and put them all in a bag. Let the adults do some also so that everyone has their name in the bag and opens and them to read aloud at the table. 

Middle Schoolers

Great-ful – who made a difference in your life this past month or year that doesn’t know it? 


Download the Ask Doctor G Gratitude for Middle Schooler and High Schooler Guide

High Schoolers

Discuss with them whom should we be grateful? Which adult or celebrity or obscure figure do you feel we all owe gratitude to and why? Will you contact them on social media or over email to let them know?

Thanksgiving is also a great time to show off those table manners you have been working on. (If you haven’t, don’t worry, there is still time to ). Making sure that kids know the basics – put their cell phones away (and off) during dinner, asking instead of reaching, saying please and thank you.

Most of all, my family and I wish you and yours a Safe and Happy Thanksgiving!

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