Read on for some great tips on how to make your Thanksgiving fun for the whole family !
Be sure to include your kids in the meal prep.
This is a great way to get kids involved, and it will also ease your load. If you have a small child, try cutting small pieces of vegetables. Kids can also help with cleaning and organizing the kitchen, as well as setting and clearing the table. Older kids can help with making the cranberry sauce, rolling the turkey and peeling potatoes. When you include your kids in the meal prep, they are more likely to try the food they have helped make. If you have older kids, you could also try setting them up with a buddy system in the kitchen so they can help each other. This way, you don’t have to keep an eye on all the kids at once.
Plan activities for before and after dinner.
If you have kids who are old enough to understand, try to plan activities for before and after dinner. This will help to keep kids distracted from the fact that they are waiting for dinner to be ready. If you’re hosting your dinner early in the day, you could plan activities such as a game of football, a trip to the park, a fun baking project, a trip to a pumpkin patch or even a trip to the local library. If you’re hosting your dinner in the evening, you could even try planning a movie night where you all watch your family’s favorite holiday films. If you have younger children, you could plan an activity such as creating a turkey craft, reading some holiday books together or setting up a puzzle.
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Don’t forget the screen time!
This one might not be for everyone, but if your kids love to play video games or watch television, this can be a great way to keep them occupied while you are waiting for dinner to be ready. Plus, you don’t have to worry about them getting into trouble while playing at the same time. Just make sure you set limits, so they don’t spend the whole time in front of the screen. You could set a timer so they know when they need to stop, or you could set a rule that they can only play while everyone is eating so they don’t distract the rest of the guests.
Create a no-regrets buffet.
If you have younger children who are picky eaters and you are worried they won’t eat enough at the dinner table, you could try creating a no-regrets buffet. This is where you set out a variety of foods that everyone can eat, no matter what their dietary requirements or picky eating habits might be. You could try setting out a selection of salads, sides, finger foods and desserts. You could also try setting up a kids table, where you can put all of the foods that your kids would prefer to eat. This will make them feel special and will also help them make friends with other kids who also have dietary restrictions or who are picky eaters.
Welcome small guests with a small table.
If you have small children who are coming to your house for dinner and you are worried that they won’t fit on the table, try setting up a small table that they can sit at while the rest of the guests are seated at the adult table. You could put a small tablecloth on the table and set it with kid-friendly plates and cutlery. You could also try setting up a table with a low chair so that the guests can reach their food easily. If you have a friend or family member who has a small child, you could try making a space just for them to eat.
Have a backup plan for dinnertime (and dessert).
If you have small children who are very fussy eaters or who have dietary restrictions that make it difficult for them to eat what is on the table, you will want to have a backup plan. You could either offer to make something that they can eat or try offering them a cookie or two from the dessert table after dinner is over. You could also try offering them a bowl of ice cream, if you are hosting a dessert table.
And finally, don’t forget to enjoy it!
Ultimately, this is a day to celebrate being thankful and living in a safe, warm place with people you love. As long as you keep your expectations low and keep an eye on your children while they are enjoying themselves, you will have a great time. And remember that, even though Thanksgiving is a day to celebrate being thankful, it is also only one day. So, make sure that you don’t spend the rest of the month worrying about making sure everything is perfect and falls into place.