Why is Thanksgiving Important? Teaching Children about Thanksgiving

Grandma, mom, and two daughters together on the couch

Thanksgiving is a special holiday: a whole day focused on spending time with loved ones and being thankful, without much of the commercialism that has crept into many other holidays. But before you pull up to the table to enjoy your delicious Thanksgiving feast, consider the opportunities this day presents to teach children about the important values of Thanksgiving, such as thankfulness, gratitude, and family.

How to Teach Children the Meaning of Thanksgiving

Here are a few tips to teach and model important Thanksgiving lessons during the holiday:

  • Talk about family traditions and tell stories. If your celebration involves multiple generations or multiple families, talk about traditions, "the good old days," and your own childhood. Stories teach children about life and history.
  • Talk about your Thanksgiving feast. Talk to children about where food comes from and how it was prepared. Everyone can share what their favorite food is and why.
  • Be thankful. Focus on the things you are thankful for; ask everyone at the table to say what they are thankful for or make a list of what your family is thankful for.
  • Share and donate. Thanksgiving is a celebration of sharing and abundance. Develop a tradition of sharing with those who have less and involve children in contributing to a food shelter or other charities. This can help children to be thankful for what they have and learn the importance of helping others.
  • Create something for Thanksgiving together. Whether you're cooking with your children or creating a craft, involving kids in the preparation or an activity is a great way to celebrate and enjoy family time. Don’t worry if the potatoes have a lump or two—the memory-making experience is worth it.
  • Have fun. Sometimes children spend long hours at the kids’ table while grown-ups talk and talk. Be sure fun family activities and enjoying one another is a top priority on Thanksgiving.

From our family to yours, however you spend your day, we hope you have a safe, healthy, and delicious Thanksgiving with family, friends, and neighbors.

Written by: Bright Horizons Education Team

November 11, 2021

About The Bright Horizons Education Team

Teacher reading to a toddler boy and girl

Whether you’re looking for parenting advice, or trying to figure out how to bring learning from the classroom to the family room, let Bright Horizons early education experts be your trusted, knowledgeable resource. Get our weekly newsletter for all things early child development—from the benefits of pretend play to at-home STEM activities, and teaching kindness—along with encouragement for every stage of your parenting journey.