Getting Your Kids Involved in Thanksgiving

We’re just over one week away from Thanksgiving, a day to feast with family and friends and remember everything in our lives to be thankful for (this year that actually includes a good football game to watch during the day when the Detroit Lions take on the Green Bay Packers.)

If you’re hosting Thanksgiving this year, it’s never too early to get your children in the planning, execution, and clean-up of Thanksgiving dinner. TLC has created a great five-step process to getting your kids involved in Thanksgiving.

Step 1 is the planning and preparation for the day:

The article says that one way to involve kids in the planning for Thanksgiving dinner is to ask them “what special side dish they would like to eat?” One example the article gives is making sweet potato fries instead of sweet potato casserole or other more “adult” dishes. Having your kids help shop for the groceries can also help involve them in Thanksgiving.

Step 2 is decorating the table for the feast:

One great way the article gives for having the kids decorate the table is allowing them to create custom placemats for all of the guests. “Simply provide the necessary supplies (construction or butcher paper, crayons and markers, scissors and glue), and keep a watchful eye as children create one-of-a-kind place mats that can be laminated and saved for future feasts. Popular themes for Thanksgiving place mats and other crafts include turkeys, Pilgrims and pumpkins.”

The article gives many more creative ideas for ways kids can decorate the Thanksgiving dinner table, including making a “Thanksgiving tree.”

Step 3 is the preparation of the meal:

The article says that some activities for younger children can be washing fruit, mashing the potatoes, stirring the cake batter and other simple tasks. For slightly older children, the article gives the idea of allowing them to decorate freshly baked cookies with sprinkles or icing while the adults enjoy coffee after dinner. You may want to have an adult or teenager supervise this process so that more of the icing ends up on the cookies and not the floor and cabinets.

Step 4 is Setting the Table:

The article suggests that  “Thanksgiving is the perfect time to begin teaching your children the basics of table-setting etiquette.” One way to do this is to give your children “printable table-setting cheat sheets, which show children where the various utensils and dishes should be placed.”

Step 5 is the dreaded clean up:

Two ways the article gives to make clean up fun for the younger kids is making it a game or sing a song. If you have older children who are giving you a difficult time about helping cleaning up, the article says that one tactic that usually works is withholding dessert until the kitchen is spotless.

How do you get your children involved in Thanksgiving?

Click here to read the entire article.