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In Canada, it is a time for family gatherings filled with good food, lively conversations, laughter, and – of course – it’s a time to give thanks.

Are you wondering how your teen can express their gratitude, to parents, teachers, friends, and extended family members? Would you like them to say or do something unique, perhaps even surprising, to let everyone know how important they are, and how much they mean?

We have some ideas about how to incorporate expressions of gratitude into your lives this season. No grand gestures; just words and actions that are unique and meaningful. These things tell people how much they mean, and how grateful your teen is to have them in their life. Consider these ways of expressing thanks.

1) Make a donation in the family’s name. At Thanksgiving, it’s important to remember how many people in our society lack the nourishment and material possessions we often take for granted. Why not encourage your teen to make a donation from an after-school job earnings to their favourite charity, in your family’s name? This is a great way to demonstrate how the entire family is considerate of others.

2) Go for a walk or hike to see the changing leaves of autumn. Is there a better way to appreciate nature than being outside in the fresh air, walking on trails and paths, surrounded by the changing colors of fall? A family activity brings everyone together and strengthens family bonds.

3) Stay home, and stay offline! Your teen can show the family how much they love and respect everyone by putting away all devices and engaging with them, particularly older relatives your teen doesn’t see very often. This demonstrates how grateful teenagers are for having a family when so many people don’t have anyone to spend holidays with. Again, it sends a message to the entire family that your teen is thankful for the presence of all these people, even the ones who don’t visit regularly.

4) Help with the meal planning and preparation, and the cleanup! How we behave towards others shows how we feel about them perhaps even more than the words we speak. Telling your friends and family you love and appreciate them is important, of course. However, pitching in to help your parents with whatever events are planned for the weekend shows them you are truly invested in the family.

This is the perfect time of year to express thanks with your words and deeds, in ways that give back to the people who love you, and who provide so much support all year long. Whatever traditions your family has throughout the year, they will be made even more special with your appreciative contributions, expressed in ways that are creative, powerful, and uniquely you.