Hosting Thanksgiving dinner is stressful in and of itself. Add a few children into the mix, especially when they are not your own, and the scene can be downright overwhelming.
As you plan and prepare for your Thanksgiving festivities, keep these kid friendly tips in mind.
1. Serve Kid Friendly Foods
With the excitement and energy in the room, chances are, the children aren’t going to have much of an appetite, especially for relatively unfamiliar foods. Consider providing kid friendly, Thanksgiving-themed food options like peanut butter and jelly sandwiches on whole wheat bread, made into turkeys. Cut a piece of the sandwich out into the shape of a diamond. Cut a small circle out of the leftover sandwich and place it on top for the turkey’s face. Slice various colors of peppers to make the turkey’s plume and cut out eyes, a nose and a waddle to add to the turkey’s face.
2. Set the scene for success
Kid proofing your home will go far in creating a kid friendly environment and in alleviating stress from you and your adults guests. Remove breakables and knickknacks well before your guests arrive. Close doors and gate off areas that are off limits. You’ll also want to make sure any medications or other hazards are stored away out of reach and out of sight. Make the area you’ll be in welcoming to children by providing age-appropriate appetizers (yes like Goldfish!), games, movies, toys or art supplies for your younger guests to enjoy.
3. Have a kids table
Consider providing a separate table for younger children. Have Thanksgiving-themed placements or printouts and crayons for coloring; provide materials for the children to create a simple centerpiece (small pumpkins and stickers or paint), and have the children set their own table.
4. Get the kids involved
Children who feel like they have an important role to play feel special, appreciated and wanted. When they are involved and are receiving positive attention, they are less likely to act out. Consider asking the children to share what they are grateful for, to help with clean up and to sing a song or to put on a short play (remember those days?).
5. Provide a family-friendly Thanksgiving-themed activity
If you’re looking for a simple kid friendly activity that most any age will enjoy, bake up some sugar cookies, cut them out using Thanksgiving-themed cookie cutters and have your guests decorate them. The great thing about this activity is you can bake and freeze the cookies well in advance and the finished products double as favors. On the day of your festivities, fill small paper cups with various colors of frosting, sprinkles and other small candies. Put out a bunch of plastic spoons (for younger children) and knives and let the decorating begin! Have small plastic bags handy for guests to package up their creations.
Are you having a houseful of younger guests at your Thanksgiving table? How will you include them in your festivities? Share your ideas below.