Thanksgiving is the epitome of family-centric holidays. It is a time to give thanks for the blessings in your life and to spend time with loved ones gathered around a generous feast. The holiday often starts out a little hectic, prepping food and cooking all day, but ends with full stomachs and even fuller hearts. Children look forward to Thanksgiving not only for the food, but for the family reunion with their favorite cousins, grandparents, aunts, uncles, and family-friends who they may not see often throughout the year. Rather than sitting them at the designated kiddy table this year, get them involved in all that the holiday has to offer.
Make them a sous-chef
A kitchen mess is inevitable when prepping and cooking dinner for such a large group of people, so why not have the kids pitch in. Most every recipe has steps that are safe for a child to perform, and they will love being a part of the process. Once the food is cooked, they can tell everyone about how they helped to cook it and get to taste their contribution.
Get their creativity flowing
Setting the Thanksgiving dinner table is a prime opportunity for children to showcase their creativity, and it also allows them to choose where they can sit. To prepare, you can even start making decorations and place cards a few days ahead of time, allowing them to color on them. It adds a personal touch to the decorations and can even serve as an opportunity to teach the kids about proper table settings.
Set expectations early
Kids are not likely to sit still for the entire Thanksgiving feast, so anticipate that they will get impatient. Set expectations ahead of time as to how long they need to sit with family before they can leave the table to partake in after-dinner play. Take it a step further and involve your children in helping to clean up dinner to teach them responsibility.
Create new traditions
A lot more goes on during Thanksgiving than cooking and eating. Create yearly traditions with your family that they can look forward to. Perhaps sign the family up for a Turkey Trot in the morning before the massive caloric consumption that will happen later. Get a rousing game of tag football going, or watch the parade every year. Continue the altruistic nature of the holiday by volunteering at a local food pantry or community dinner.
Thanksgiving is the start of the holiday season, where family events are the focus and yuletide activities quickly follow behind. Involving your children in the holiday cheer enhances the magic of the season.