As a child psychologist, I have seen how finding creative outlets for expression can assist kids with healing and coping with different challenges.
In this blog, I will share ideas to help kids through Thanksgiving after divorce, including how to express gratitude, connect with family and care for others during Thanksgiving.
This is a just small sample of the many outlets that you can find for your kids, so I encourage to do some searching to find ones that fit your kids’ interest and abilities.
Arts & Crafts to Help Kids Through Thanksgiving After Divorce.
1. 30 Days of Gratitude Advent Calendar
Create an advent calendar and put quotes about gratitude or list things that your family can be grateful for during this season. This craft can help kids develop resilience and find positivity in all things. Kids will naturally feel and express anger or sadness about a divorce. This craft isn’t meant to replace or invalidate those feelings, instead, it provides a balance to all-or-nothing thinking.
2. Thankfulness Jar
Similar to the Gratitude Calendar, a Thankfulness or Gratitude Jar allows kids to generate and express gratitude. Developing gratitude provides psychological and relational benefits and what better time to work on gratitude than the Thanksgiving holiday! This is a craft that could go between houses, and kids and parents can all participate.
When adults express gratitude, it sets a good example for kids. Remember, you don’t have to pretend to be grateful for something you aren’t happy about; rather, you can look for the things that you are grateful for even during a difficult time (e.g. good friends, nature, ice cream, etc. ).
[Ed. Please feel free download a .pdf with a label for your jar as well as a template for your guests to use.]
3. Decorations for Your Co-Parent
Many parenting plans alternate Thanksgiving, so if this is the first year your co-parent will not be with the kids on Thanksgiving, consider creating a decoration for that parent. This models generosity and compassion. For example, let’s make mom a hand turkey (easiest craft ever) so she can put it up and know we were thinking of her.
4. Card or Note for Your Co-Parent
Similar to the decoration, an older child could make a card or write a note to the parent he/she won’t be seeing for Thanksgiving. This doesn’t have to be elaborate or overly sentimental, it is really about the thought. It also shows your kids that even if you are divorced, you care about the well-being of their other parent.
5. Card or Supplies for the Less Fortunate
Helping children find opportunities to volunteer in age-appropriate ways increases their empathy. Too many people are alone or hungry during the holidays, and when we do something to help others, it can help us feel better. Allow your kids to express their creativity in the service of helping someone else.
6. Write a Story or Poem
This can be Thanksgiving, but it doesn’t have to be. The idea is that writing can be a very powerful form of self-expression. While it may have nothing to do with the holiday or the divorce, you might learn something about what your child is thinking about or struggling with through the themes of their writing.
7. Bake Something
Creativity in the kitchen can also be a fun bonding experience. Again, you can bake something that you share with the parent who will not have the kids for the holiday.
Helping your children find outlets that match their interests will give them another way to express themselves. Arts and crafts can help kids sort out their feelings and remember that they are still part of a family that cares about each other, even if it’s changed. If you can model that for Thanksgiving, you will truly give your children a gift to be thankful for.