Practicing Thankfulness May 9, 2016 As the weather starts to warm up, I’m reminded how quickly the school year is winding down. So many exciting things happen this time of year. I can feel my kids’ anticipation of the season to come, and it makes me miss the carefree days of summer vacation. This was actually my youngest’s first full year of school, and she keeps reminding me how excited she is for her chance to join our end of the year “teacher gift” tradition. The teacher gift idea began years ago as a chance for me to model thankfulness to my kids. And this small gesture goes a long way in reminding them how much their teachers have filled their little hearts and minds for a whole school year. It’s not just my kids who are thankful. As a mom who has relied on teachers, I want to show my appreciation for the way they’ve served my kids, too. So this is something we love doing together. We start out by sitting down and brainstorming our gift ideas together. In the past we’ve done lots of fun little things that are sweet and useful. While we’re putting the gifts together, we go around the table and everyone shares what their favorite part of the school year was. Letting them reflect back on all they’ve learned has been a good practice in reminding them just how much they’ve grown in one school year. Here are a few of my favorite ideas from years past: This sweet printable says, “Thanks for helping me grow” and just good old fashioned “thank you.” Download and print both of these here. Simply cut them out and attach them to personalized stationery (using letter stamps from the craft store), seed packets, a little herb plant, or anything simple you come up with at home! This is just one of the ways we practice gratitude. And it seems that the more we practice, the more my little ones catch on that it’s not just our teachers that deserve our thankfulness—but our neighbors, friends and family, too. These are the little lessons I love watching take root in them. The ones that stick. Tag me on Instagram (@joannagaines) to share the ways you and your kiddos show thankfulness to their teachers!