How to Help Your Students Prepare For The Thanksgiving Holiday

Helping Students Prepare for Thanksgiving

With Thanksgiving coming up, it’s hard to think of anything other than going home for the break and celebrating with family. It has been a tradition for many families to gather together and spend this holiday in gratefulness and joy. But I always wondered what my students went home to for the holidays.

Did they go to eat potluck feasts with their extended family and close friends? Did they have to face a split family holiday situation? Were they celebrating at home with their close family, having a normal Thursday night? Every family is different! So, what did I need to prepare them for before sending them off to their week-long holiday?

No matter what their experience was, I tried to always help my students prepare. They are little. Big, busy family functions can be stressful, and hearing stories of big celebrations that were had over the break while they didn’t have a big shindig can be confusing to them. 

So, what is best? Giving them tools they can use to cope with whatever situation they may face. It’s what SEL (Social-Emotional Learning) was built for! Whether they are in school or at home. So, below are some of the conversations and lessons you can have with your kiddos before sending them off on their big Thanksgiving break.


How to celebrate their unique families

original 4824247 1
Click on the image to download!

We all know that family dynamics can change at any point. A death in the family, and a new marriage, or even a divorce can bring many different feelings to the table. I’ve had kiddos experience a wide range of family changes over the year, and each of them coped differently. It’s important to be there for your students in some personal ways, as you or their peers may very well be the best support they have.

That is exactly why this SEL lesson about celebrating unique families can be so important. It can help them feel more comfortable with their new situation or even bring them joy as they find more students share the same family dynamics. As families are gathering together and thankfulness is a big topic, this SEL lesson can be very helpful to your kiddos. 


Celebrating Differences

original 3747746 1 1
Click on the image to download!

Speaking of opening the conversation to celebrating unique families, it is also important for students to remember they can celebrate their differences. Usually, the big question of “what are you thankful for” pops up at some point during the Thanksgiving holiday season. You can use this SEL lesson to help students realize their differences are something worth being proud of. 

Helping your kiddos be thankful for their unique differences can be a great boost to their confidence. Having confidence in themselves ultimately results in an encouraging boost to their confidence in the classroom too! Teaching does not always consist of standards and tests. It also consists of helping these little ones learn the value of themselves.


How to Start Conversations

original 3624870 1
Click on the image to download!

Okay! There’s not one class without some shy kiddos. Some students are just a bit quieter than others. They can be overwhelmed by the social need for conversations and may need a bit of help navigating this skill. That’s okay! This SEL lesson helps to teach how to start conversations and be confident in their voice. 

This is a great tool to use before Thanksgiving break, as it gives your more quiet kiddos a boost in their conversation skills just in time to see their family and friends they haven’t seen in a while. So, not only are you helping pull social skills into the classroom community, but you are giving your students tools for life. 

Coping with Emotions

original 3473103 1
Click on the image to download!

This is a big one. In my opinion, this SEL lesson is great to use at any and all times of the year. Your students are still young and still developing these pretty major skill sets. Helping them learn how to cope with their big emotions is vital. 

These SEL lessons come with home letters that allow parents to understand what you are working with them on at school and how they can continue these lessons at home. It can greatly benefit some families to have the information this lesson provides as well. As mentioned before, the holidays can be overwhelming for young students. So, this lesson is here to be their guide on how to cope with these overwhelming emotions they may face – at school or at home. 


All of these SEL lessons are amazing tools you can add to your library to help not only strengthen your classroom dynamic but your student’s overall social-emotional skills.

You can find many more SEL lessons, plus bundles, at my shop here.

Have a happy Thanksgiving holiday!

Share it: