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Thanksgiving: values to share

23/11/2023 - Bilinguisme chez l'enfant

On this Thanksgiving day, it’s important to acknowledge the value of this celebration. Even if Thanksgiving is mostly celebrated in Northern America, its idea of gratitude spreads worldwide. It can be easier to understand it as a child so it would be great to use this event as a starting point. 


une nounou prépare des pancakes avec un enfant


To help them for their future development, transmitting social values to children has become a priority. Kindness, empathie, courtesy… There are lots of important behaviors. Thanksgiving allows us to remember the importance of support and gratitude in this disordonated era. 



Be thankful 



In this confusing time, it’s important to be thankful… and even more for children. It seems trivial, but being thankful is a proof of respect. More than that, this value counters anxiety. 


Based on an experiment managed by psychologist Robert Emmons and his colleague Michael McCollough, it appears that gratitude has extremely positive effects towards our body and our mind. As he said in a conference in 2010 : “Gratitude, I believe, has the power to do three things : to heal, to energize, and to change lives”. A real “source of hope” used by different countries. 


Whether it is by a celebration or an other way, numerous countries promote daily gratitude as an essential value. In a study, Henry-Philippe Godeau, psychology expert, explains that the concept of thankfulness has been adopted first by oriental countries. He also says that its roots are still implanted in Japan or China. Teaching gratitude to children seems to represent a real advantage. 


To initiate this way of thinking, children can use a gratitude book, based on the same principle as a personal diary. Every day the owner can write inside a few actions they made and which caused him/her gratitude. This gratitude book might become a true friend for your child and remind ithem of all positive things they experienced that day. 



The notion of unselfishness 



Unselfishness, another value transmitted by Thanksgiving, is the cement of children's education. Today’s world is centered around principles such as equality. It’s important for youth to grow up with notions such as share and helping others.


Writers Nadia Chernyak and Tamar Kushnir, from the University of Cornwell, explain that sharing would prepare children to act better in a social way: a better integration in society, a better spirit of mutul support, … However, both writers warn that this is something that should develop naturally. Sharing can be taught, but it can’t be rewarded to make it normal for children.


It would be easier to communicate this thought by “key-sentences” : “Can you lend me your ball ?”, “Would you like a slice of my cake ?”... Some teachers have already started to do this knowing this is one of the first notions children learn on English classes : “Can I loan your pen ?”






Some values are directly inspired by unselfishness. Empathy is, then, an excellent way to propagate this idea. Jean Decety and Claire Holvoet, psychiatry experts, have determined that empathy is hard to teach. Nevertheless, it’s a great way to create a strong link between children/babies and sociability. A good start to facilitate integration. 


Here are some books to develop those values for your child : 

  • Malero dit merci - Eva Milla Molina - les Emoti-Contes
  • Le garçon invisible - Trudy Ludwig - Editions d’Eux
  • Comme toi - Jean-Baptiste Del Amo, Pauline Martin - Editions Gallimard
  • Horton hears a Who! - Dr Seuss - Editions Ulysses Press



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