It is important to involve children in Thanksgiving day. With the cooking, cleaning, football watching, and adult conversation, children can sometimes get lost in the moment. Here are some ideas of how to involve your children in the holiday which can make it more enjoyable for both you and the little ones.
Cook with the kids. There are lots of little things kids can do to help you get the meal ready. Even if it doesn’t feel like a big help to you, it will help them feel invested in the meal and proud to have been a part of it. Rinsing potatoes, stirring, tearing bread for stuffing, arranging the cheese and cracker tray, sweeping, and setting the table are all ways to get some help from your little ones.
Have activities for the kids. This may apply during prep time or the actual day. Check out this site for Thanksgiving free printables, crafts, and games. Find an area where the children can have enough space for their supplies (paper, crayons, markers, glue) and you wont get upset if it looks a little messy. In my house we have an arts and crafts area in the garage. You can even use some of the crafts they make as decorations for the table. You can have older kids create place cards with each person’s name or you can dot the letters for a younger child to trace.
Seat the kids with the adults. A controversial one, I know. But I really do enjoy having the kids seated with the adults during the meal. We are one family and I like it to feel that way. You can also avoid all those trips to the kids table to check up on them. If space is an issue and you need to have a kids table, make it fun! Line it with butcher paper so the kids can decorate the “tablecloth”.
Desert,coffee, and clean up help. The kids can help by asking each guest for their dessert preference and also who is need of after dinner coffee. Younger children can assist by putting forks or spoons on the dessert plate and older children can serve. Make a game out of clean up and see who can get the most items from the dining room table into the kitchen.
Traditions. Make sure your kids understand your family traditions and where they came from (if you know). In our house growing up we always watched A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving and my kids do as well. What is your family tradition?