4 Tips for Celebrating Thanksgiving with Children
Hosting children at your Thanksgiving Day feast can mean a little extra work is needed to ensure a smooth celebration. But don’t you fret, we see you! We’ve got your back! Even without children, Thanksgiving Day prep can be overwhelming. Add children to the mix, and things can be utter chaos, if you are not prepared. But no need to worry, I’ve got 4 children of my own, and am happy to share my 4 best tips for celebrating Thanksgiving with children. I assure you, celebrating Thanksgiving with children can be loads of fun!
Tip #1- Children love to be involved in holiday prep, so save your sanity and find ways to involve your kids in the preparations. This may seem counter-intuitive and even counter-productive, but even small children can contribute towards the success of a Thanksgiving celebration. Whether you have older children help make simple paper pumpkins or leaf garland decorations or have little ones sprinkle the marshmallow toppings on this year’s yams, the children will delight in being involved with the celebration.
Tip #2- Even if you plan to set an elegant table for adults, make at least one dinner table kid-friendly. I don’t know about your house, but at our house a seat at “the kid’s table” is highly coveted. Wipe away worries about broken china & spills on fancy linens, by doing away with the frills on the children’s table. Instead, consider adding a tablecloth made from Kraft paper & tying up small crayon bundles to be included at each place setting. Children can actually be encouraged to draw turkeys, play impromptu games of Tic-Tac-Toe and doodle right on the table. Coloring pages or Thanksgiving themed activity placemats with a word search, crossword puzzle and riddles can also be a welcome addition and help keep small ones entertained while adults finish prepping food, eating or visiting. Colorful Thanksgiving themed paper plates, bright napkins, disposable cups and silverware mean a festive setup for the kids and easy clean-up for you!
Tip #3- You may be the best cook on the planet, but children often have a simpler palate. As you menu plan, include some simple no-fuss menu items that kids love. As a parent, one of my biggest frustrations is having my children turn their nose up at a meal I’ve spent hours working on in the kitchen. While some children have well-developed palates, many prefer simple foods without all of the seemingly strange ingredients and toppings that we enjoy as adults. While I am not suggesting you completely water down your menu, be sure to have a few child-friendly favorites on hand. These could include things like raw fruits and veggies, sliced meats & cheeses, crackers and perhaps even a basic treat or two (small chocolate candies and caramel corn come to mind). Setting up a small finger-food table where children can reach their own snacks, will save you from many “I’m hungry” and “is it time to eat yet?” comments that children are known for. If a separate table is not practical for your space, it may be wise to incorporate small edible favors at each child-friendly place setting. Small baking cups can be filled with popcorn, fruit, trail mix or treats!
Tip #4- Plan for some child-friendly games or activities following dinner. After the big feast, comes a big clean-up effort which is difficult to do with kids running wildly under foot. Planning a few activities ahead of time will save your sanity and build fun memories for them. A few ideas include playing gratitude Bingo or pin the feather on the Turkey. A special story time about the first Thanksgiving could be arranged, or perhaps a showing of a Thanksgiving movie would excite little ones.
Keeping these simple tips in mind will help adults and children alike enjoy celebrating Thanksgiving together.
I hope these kid-friendly Thanksgiving tips help take the stress out of your holiday planning! What kid-friendly tip did you find most helpful?