Tag Archives: thanksgiving

Giving Thanks at Thanksgiving: Practicing Gratitude with Your Kids

thank-youThanksgiving and the holiday season that follows are a wonderful opportunity to instill a sense of gratitude in your children and teens. We often think about gratitude as a way to show others we appreciate them or that we are thankful for the things we have when others are less fortunate. But, did you know that practicing gratitude can also help the giver?

Positive psychology finds that gratitude benefits our mental health, our friendships and connections to others, and our daily mood. What is important is feeling positive and noticing what we have and appreciate, so do not roll your eyes if your teen is grateful for his video games! Here are some ways you can practice gratitude with your child:

•Try sharing 3 things you are grateful for from your day, or have everyone say something they love about another family member at the dinner table.

•Make a Gratitude Jar or Box. Decorate the outside however you’d like with paper, paint, or stickers. Every day, write down at least three things you are grateful for on little slips of paper and add them to the jar. The jar will fill up, and you or your child can revisit the slips of paper when you need a mood lift.

•Help your child write a letter to a person they are thankful for and have them personally deliver it. They will get a boost seeing how happy that gift of gratitude makes the recipient.

•If you want to make gratefulness more of an activity at the Thanksgiving table, combine it with a fun craft. Make colorful leaves or turkey feathers out of construction paper with a prompt for everyone to write (or draw) something they are thankful for, then share answers around the table and put the leaves/feathers in the centerpiece or on a central picture of a tree or turkey. You can hang up the final project and create a nice memento of the shared meal.

While Thanksgiving is a great time to talk with your family about gratitude, it’s a practice that would benefit the family to continue year-round.

Lauren Knickerbocker, PhD, is a clinical assistant professor in the Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry at NYU Langone Health. Dr. Knickerbocker specializes in treating selective mutism and anxiety in young children, ADHD and difficulties with organization and time management, disruptive behaviors, and parent management training. She is also the co-director of Early Childhood Service at NYU Langone’s Child Study Center, a part of Hassenfeld Children’s Hospital.

Why Kidz Central Station Is Thankful This Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving Day Turkey Cartoon Clipart

This time of year is truly the best—with Thanksgiving upon us and the holiday season right on its heals, it’s the perfect time to reflect on all of the wonderful things that have happened this year and what we have to be thankful for. So, we’d like to take this opportunity to impart five great reasons why we at Kidz Central Station are thankful this year. We wish all of the Kidz Central Station families out there a very Happy Thanksgiving!

1. We love what we do. We feel truly lucky that we get to go to work each day and help NYC parents (like us!) find classes and activities that make their kids happy. We all know what it’s like to search high and low for the right kids’ classes, so it makes us feel good to know that we’re making life just a little bit easier with Kidz Central Station.

2. We all have wonderful families who support us every day. Period, end.

3. We get to come up with new and unique ways to reach the NYC parenting community. From our recent event at Toys “R” Us to our Best Kids’ Birthday Party Finder, it’s exciting and fun to reach parents in brand new ways, and best serve their needs. If you have questions or suggestions, let us know!

4. We get to meet and learn about lots of NYC families. Each day, parents call and email us with questions about kids’ activities—what’s the best music class for a 6 month old girl? (There are tons!) Do you have soccer for a 3 year old boy? (Yes, of course!) Through these exchanges we learn about what parents are looking for, what they want, and how we can better serve them. Right now we are gearing up for winter classes, so let us know if you need help finding the best classes for your child!

5. We all get to enjoy the upcoming Thanksgiving break. This Thursday on Thanksgiving, we all get to take a moment to sit back, relax, and enjoy some much-needed family time (as well as Thanksgiving activities!). We hope you do too!

Tips for Thanksgiving Travel With a Toddler

toddler  boy sitting in the car seatWhile New York is where I live, work, and am happily raising a family, I’m originally from outside of Boston and love having the chance to go “home” for Thanksgiving, where my parents (and my husband’s parents) still reside. If your family lives out of town like mine, you can probably relate to the excitement of traveling to see family and having more than just a short weekend to spend together. But of course with traveling comes a whole host of stressful things to deal with—making sure to pack everything you need (but not too much), timing your trip just right, and making it to your Thanksgiving destination with a happy child in tow. After many successful trips and (many more that I would rather forget), I’m happy to share a few things I’ve learned to make travel with a toddler just a little bit easier.

Get the necessities now. When traveling with my now 22-month-old son for an extended period of time, ordering the necessities he needs and shipping them to my destination ahead of time has become an absolute must. Of course I could buy everything when we get there, or guestimate how many diapers to pack or if the bath soap we have will take us through the week—but why chance it? With the ease of sites like Diapers.com and Amazon, you can buy what you need, ship it a few days ahead of time, and have one less thing to think about. Plus, you’ll have extra room in your suitcase for the things you really need.

Time things just right. I’ve traveled a fair amount with my son and the one thing I’ve learned is that timing is everything. If your child is just a few months old and has an erratic schedule, timing might not matter, but if your little one has a very predictable routine (like mine), my advice is to keep to it. If you’re driving to your Thanksgiving destination, leave at bedtime when traffic should be a bit lighter and your child can sleep his/her way through the ride. This will make for a less stressful drive for everyone involved. Naptime is the next best option, as you’ll get at least an hour or two of peace and quiet. If you’re flying, leaving in the morning is key. After a full night’s sleep your little one is bound to be less cranky and more willing to cooperate during the long process of flying. My family once flew back from a vacation at the exact time my son should have been napping. He threw an enormous tantrum as we were preparing to take off—disrupting everyone to the point that the stewardess handed out free headphones (that you usually pay for) to everyone on the plane to block out the noise. Once we were at cruising altitude he proceeded to throw himself on the (absolutely disgusting) plane floor and nap for two and a half hours. I was totally that mom with the uncontrollable child, and wouldn’t wish a trip like that on my worst enemy.

Do whatever it takes to get there. Traveling is stressful enough when you’re by yourself, so adding a toddler to the mix can turn an exciting vacation into an anxiety-inducing chore. So whether it’s extra snacks, toddler tunes on the radio, or a movie on the iPad, do yourself a favor and do whatever it takes to keep your sanity in tact. In my case, living in city means my family doesn’t drive as much as suburban families, so my son is more irritable than the average child when he’s strapped in a car seat for hours. While he doesn’t watch a lot of TV when we’re at home, if Elmo the Musical on the iPad will keep my city kid happy for a long stretch, Elmo the Musical is what he’ll get. I use a special holder that sits on the back of the headrest so he can’t fumble around with the iPad, so all my husband and I have to deal with is Elmo’s high-pitched, cheery voice for three and a half hours. But believe me, during our long drive to Boston next week that furry, red monster will be the Thanksgiving gift that keeps on giving.