Thanksgiving is almost here, and if you’re hosting a feast for your extended family, you know just how much work is coming your way! It can seem daunting to approach a holiday like Thanksgiving when you have young children running around at home — but it’s much easier if you involve them! Kids love to be where the action is, so take that interest and funnel it into the tasks you already have to do to make sure Thanksgiving dinner gets cooked and served to your guest. Here are some ways you can involve your kids in practical life tasks around Thanksgiving!
You can start by going shopping together! Do a Google image search of the ingredients you need at the grocery store, then let your child check them off when each one has been found and put in the cart.
Out of all of the traditional Thanksgiving foods, I’ve found that mashed potatoes and sweet potato casserole are the easiest ones to let the kids help prepare. Toddlers can scrub potatoes, poke holes in the skin before baking sweet potatoes, chop up regular potatoes to boil, help mash the cooked potatoes, and mix everything together! My girls particularly enjoy topping the sweet potato casserole with mini marshmallows.
And don’t forget about all of the cleaning that you do to prepare your home for guests! Let your kids help dust, sweep, mop — whatever you usually do before hosting a big holiday event. It may not be done perfectly, but it will be done with enthusiasm.
Setting the table is another way your kids can help prepare for Thanksgiving dinner! Put out one place setting yourself in the way you want your child to do it, then let them copy that place setting at all of the other chairs. Model using slow, gentle movements while you place each dish on the table just so.
Your kids can also make place cards for each of your guests! This one says, “Aunt Sara,” written by an emerging writer. If you have a pre-writer, they can draw pictures of each guest to set at their place at the table.
Don’t forget about cleaning up! Let your kids help bring in dirty dishes from the dining room. Have a designated spot for them to put each item — either right beside the sink or straight into the dishwasher.