Benefits of Gratefulness & Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving is quite unbelievably a mere two days away. Regardless of whether you’re hosting or attending Thursday’s Thanksgiving dinner, you’re most assuredly busy this week and every week from now until New Year’s Day. You’re shopping, preparing travel plans, finishing up projects at work, and maybe even wishing the holiday season was already past.

While the holidays can, unfortunately, be more stressful than they are relaxing and joyful, take a moment this year to teach your children what it means to be thankful. While it can seem cliché, gratefulness has proven to be extremely beneficial to overall happiness and can improve many aspects of peoples’ lives.

Time magazine recently released an article with seven surprising health benefits of gratitude. Gratitude and gratefulness improve patience, relationships, self-care (healthier diet and exercise choices), sleep, self-control (particularly when it comes to overeating), and depression and leads to enduring happiness. The Los Angeles Times also reports correlations between gratitude and fighting addictions, combatting jealousies and envy (we all have that one Facebook friend whose life seems just a little too perfect), improving the jobs of managers, and increasing life satisfaction for children.

Teaching your kids to be grateful at young ages can help set them up for lifetimes of healthier thinking, healthier relationships, and healthier lifestyle choices; use this Thanksgiving as a starting point. During Thanksgiving dinner (or anytime throughout the day) have your children make lists of everything they’re thankful for this year. Have them share the lists with you and other family members. Make your own list to share with them as an example and to free yourself into the same spirit of thankfulness.

In order to keep gratitude on your children’s minds long after your Tupperware of leftovers have been scraped clean, create a nightly family dinner or bedtime ritual during which you ask your children to share what six things they are grateful for from their day.

It is astounding how even on the very worst day, it is still relatively simple to come up with six things for which to be thankful. It can change your entire outlook on the day as you realize it wasn’t quite as bad as you thought. Keep the trend up nightly, and as gratefulness becomes a more common practice, your children will recognize the positive more often than the negative things going on in their lives.

This exercise will not only benefit your children but also yourself as you share with them the things for which you are grateful. You’ll serve as a shining example while also changing your own thought process and building up your own gratefulness and happiness. We can all use more of that, right?

Need something festive to read to your children this week? They’re sure to love our list of Thanksgiving Must-Reads for Families!


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Shelby Wagner - 1st Grade Teacher Fairmont Historic AnaheimTop Teacher & Skating Champion
Shelby “My favorite part of being a teacher is the children I get to teach.”
  • Is one of the head teachers for the Fountain Valley Artistic Skating Club, teaching regional and national champions. She also teaches beginner classes every Saturday morning.
  • Every year, her students are amazed to find that their teacher has a life outside of the classroom.
“I love feeling like I’m part of a family [at Fairmont].”
Keira Kamath - 5th Grade Fairmont Anaheim HillsScience & Tennis Superstar
keira “I like how there are so many different specialty classes at Fairmont Anaheim Hills, like art, music, PE, science lab, computer lab, and Spanish.”
  • She would like to be a professional tennis player when she grows up, or maybe a doctor.
  • Loves dance and plays the piano
  • Her favorite class is science “because you get to figure out stuff, and I like to do experiments.”
Nicholas Aghaian - 7th Grade Fairmont Historic AnaheimKicking His Way to Med School
nicolas“The teachers and the amount of support they provide to not only me, but to the whole entire community here at Fairmont is probably what I like most about attending Fairmont Historic Anaheim.”
  • He would like to be a professional soccer player, or a doctor specializing in the field of sports medicine.
  • Enjoys basketball, piano, and soccer pitch.
  • His favorite subject is math “because I like to be challenged, and math is full of challenges.”
Gianluca De Gregoris – 2nd Grade Fairmont North TustinDancing Toward Greatness
dancing"What I like most about Fairmont is that I get to learn and meet new friends.”
  • He wants to be a professional dancer when he grows up.
  • Is trained in ballet and ballroom dancing.
  • Loves writing and creating new stories.
Nicole Heyman - Kindergarten Teacher Fairmont Anaheim HillsLaying a Foundation for Lifelong Learning
Nicole "The best part about teaching at Fairmont is being able to work with a diverse group of students who are all incredibly talented. It is amazing to be able to challenge students at such a young age and watch these children grow throughout the year.”
  • Loves camping, reading, and traveling
  • Her students love learning random things about her – like the fact that when she was in kindergarten she wanted to be Spiderman when she grew up.
  • Her proudest moments are the times when a student on campus is excited to see her, oftentimes telling her that she’s “the best teacher in the world.” “I live for those moments.”
“I choose to teach at Fairmont because of the sense of community, as well as the drive for our students to succeed.”
DJ Clovis - Music Teacher Fairmont North TustinRunning to the Rhythm
DJ Clovis “I get to work with amazing staff, faculty, parents, and most importantly, students!”
  • Teaches music to all grades — from pre-kindergarten through 8th grade
  • Coaches (or has coached) football, basketball, and Run Club
  • Plays bass trombone
  • NJHS Conflict Resolution Coach
  • He has run 15 marathons and 4 ultra marathons.
“The best part of teaching at Fairmont is the autonomy — being able to create a program that fits all of my students. At Fairmont North Tustin, I get to help with a lot of different activities.”