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Making Thanksgiving Special to Your Children

Thanksgiving is a special time for adults and kids alike. For adults, it’s often about seeing extended family, gorging oneself, and, perhaps most importantly, reflecting on what you’re grateful for. For children, Thanksgiving means time off from school (yay!), seeing grandparents and cousins, and eating lots of turkey and pie.

There are several ways you can impart the spirit and lessons of the holiday to your kids and make it a little more fun for them. Read on for several ideas.

Include them in the preparations

Kids can get lost in the shuffle of cooking, catching up with family, and watching football. One way to help them feel involved is by having them help with food preparation. Let them toss the salad, mash the potatoes, or add the whipped cream to the pie. Older kids can have bigger responsibilities like monitoring the turkey in the oven or even making their own side dish. Table-setting is also a fun and easy job for kids; allow them to flex their creativity by making table place cards for each family member.

Make mealtime a little more fun

Sitting down to eat with a bunch of adults can be a little tedious for kids. There are several ways you can make mealtime more kid-friendly. Give them Thanksgiving coloring pages and let them do some drawing before or after (or during) the meal. Consider excusing them from the table at a certain point, too, especially if they’re getting squirmy.

Have kids make gratitude lists

Get your kids thinking about gratitude by having them make a list of everything they’re thankful for. If you have more than one child, you can do something like tell them whoever has the most items on their list gets to do something special. You can also have the kids, or—better yet—the entire family, draw pictures of what they’re grateful for.

Create family traditions

Family traditions not only make holidays more fun but these are the kinds of things that kids remember when they’re older. Consider doing things like starting family football games or going on an easy hike or nature walk together either in the morning or after dinner. You could also use butcher paper as a tablecloth and have everyone write (or draw) what they’re thankful for on it. Then, during the meal, everyone can go around and read what they wrote. In addition, everyone at the table could make a toast or kids could serve dessert. The options are endless; think about what would suit your family and your kids! Thanksgiving is already a special holiday. Make it extra special for your kids by involving them in preparations, making mealtime for kid-friendly, asking them to make gratitude lists, and starting family traditions. Have a safe and fantastic holiday!

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