- Picking the menu: Let kids help pick the dishes you will serve. Give them extra Thanksgiving love for choices including fresh fruits and vegetables.
- Make ingredient lists together: help children realize what goes into their favorite recipes.
- Shopping: Schedule your trips and check off items on your list as you put them in the cart.
2. Dinner Preparation:
- Help in the kitchen: Allow kids to wash, mash, scoop, measure, roll, and older kids can slice, the ingredients. When kids feel that they were a part of the process, they will take more pride in the meal and have a better appreciation for the food on the table. They might also have an increased interest in trying a new dish or a taking second helping of the veggies they prepared.
- Set the table: Let kids set the table, count the silverware and the plates and make sure that each place settings is complete.
- *Bonus treat: Create a seating chart. Allow kids to take control of where the guests will sit. Encourage them to mix up the guests, with the older guests next to younger guests and friends next to family.
- Centerpieces: Allow kids to get creative. Place a bunch of decorations on the table and let the kids arrange them. They will feel proud and guests will appreciate their unique creations.
- Design place mats: Allow kids to make a special place mat for each setting. Doesn’t need to be fancy, construction paper works just fine.
- Make napkin rings: Use strips of construction paper, have kids decorate with stickers, crayons, markers, glitter or whatever else you have laying around, tape the strip together in the shape of a “ring” and place napkin through it.
- Create Seating Cards: Use little hand turkeys as seating cards placed on each guest’s plate.
- Greeting: Allow kids to open the door, greet guests and take coats. This promotes socialization and gives all houseguests huge smiles from the very moment they walk in the door.
- Inviting to the meal: Have children announce when the meal is ready and guide guests to the table.
5. Clean Up:
- Clear plates and dishes: Have kids carry into the kitchen. Remind them that the faster the dishes are cleared, the faster dessert comes out.
- Create an assembly line: This helps the job get done quicker, and makes clean up a lesson on teamwork and cooperation.
These simple tips will take some of the stress out of the festivities and make your little one feel important! After all, kids helping on Thanksgiving Day is just one of the many things to give thanks for!