Thanksgiving is a time for the whole family to get together and give thanks for what they have. Even the youngest participants can feel left out if they don’t have anything to do to assist. Involving your children in planning and preparing for the Thanksgiving meal can teach them a multitude of lessons, including how to execute a large project, how to set the table, and more. Depending on your child’s age and interests, our childcare professionals’ suggestions below can help parents get their children involved in the holiday festivities.
Try a DIY Thanksgiving Craft Activity!
Our list of Thanksgiving friendly crafts can be found on our blog. These fun and creative arts and crafts projects encourage your children to get into the holiday spirit by building decorative items, such as centerpieces, that they can proudly display around the home.
Involve Them in the Meal Preparation
Parents should sit down with their children and discuss the menu. This is a great opportunity to share how to make healthy choices, especially around the holiday season. Children should feel welcome to add their favorite dishes to the list, and be encouraged by parents to add new dishes. Allowing old favorites and including new choices encourages healthy eating habits, but also alleviates the risk of raising picky eaters. Additional meal ideas for picky eaters can be found on our website.
Shopping for Festive Supplies
Planning and preparing for the Thanksgiving meal can be an intensive affair. Going grocery shopping, especially with young children, can be a difficult task. However, parents shouldn’t shy away from bringing them along, as it can teach kids basic concepts, such as comparison shopping and how to read ingredients.
Have Your Kids Help With Cooking
It can seem easier and faster to let adults handle all the cooking, but getting your children involved can payoff in the long run. Teaching children how to cook can be an educational endeavor as well as a fun time to bond with your children. They can help with prepping such as washing vegetables, measuring and mixing, even breaking up bread for the stuffing!
Decorating and Setting the Table
Many families choose to have a separate table for the children during the festivities. Why not let the children decorate and set their own table? They can construct their own centerpiece, make the place cards, and lay out plates and silverware. Even if it’s a small job, you’re including them in the process.
Encourage Charity or Community Service
A great way to reinforce charitable values is to make it a family activity. Parents should introduce their children to charitable giving when they are around three or four years old. By this age, children begin to understand that other people have feelings, and can start to develop a sense of empathy. Encourage children to donate toys that they’re not playing with anymore, school supplies, and clothing to other less fortunate children. Spend time at your local soup kitchen or show your children that you make regular philanthropic donations. Additional ways to help teach children how to express gratitude can be found here.
Have Your Children Help with Clean up Afterward
After the meal has concluded, delegate clean-up tasks and responsibilities to your children. Assignments can include clearing the dishes from the table, collecting the dirty napkins and placemats, rinsing the dishes, loading them in the dishwasher, and wiping down the table. Make sure that the tasks are age-appropriate.
Make the Kids Feel Valuable
The ways you can involve your children in Thanksgiving dinner is endless, and can help take some of the stress off the parents. When dinner is finally served, everyone will feel pride at having pitched in!
Contact the Nanny Authority for More Information
No matter which option you choose, use this opportunity to slow down and cherish the time you spend together as a family. From all of us here at The Nanny Authority, we wish you a Happy Thanksgiving!