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Depending on the size of your kitchen and your ability to navigate the space, it’s up to you to decide whether or not you want children to participate in the cooking on Thanksgiving Day itself. Cooking Thanksgiving dinner can be hectic, and there’s no need to add unnecessary stress. What you can do, though, is create a side dish with your kids on the night before or give them very easy-to-accomplish tasks that can be done without supervision. For a lot of children, Thanksgiving is a holiday of waiting around. Allowing them to take part in the cooking process gives them something to do, but it also adds significance to the meal. Everyone playing a role in the assembly of a communal meal is what Thanksgiving’s all about, after all. Gratitude Gamified Thanksgiving is the perfect opportunity to teach children about the importance of gratitude and appreciation for others. All too often, we let that opportunity pass by with little more than saying grace and going through the motions. It doesn’t have to be this way.
There are so many fun ways to make your child reflect on who and what they are thankful for. One easy method is to have children spend the morning gathering leaves — though, if you live in a city, you may need to come up with an alternative. Once they have a certain number of leaves, ask the child to distribute them to friends and family members. While doing so, the child can share something they are thankful for with each person. It requires no preparation, costs nothing, and could end up being the most meaningful activity anyone does all day. Of course, it’s also a smart idea to have a few games on hand that the kiddos can play just for fun. You can buy tablecloths that also serve as coloring books, set up a crafts table, or let the kids roam in the backyard, but whatever you do, you have to provide some outlet for them to let loose within reason. New Traditions No matter how hard you try, there are certain aspects of Thanksgiving that appeal to adults more than children. You may love sitting
around a table exchanging stories with loved ones you haven’t seen all year, but most 10-year-olds have a different idea of fun. Remember to consider that when you plan your holiday. Attending a turkey trot, scheduling a family football game, or holding an annual three- legged race are all activities that anyone can get a kick out of. Really, you’re only limited by your imagination and the interests of your family. Choose something that will be special and enjoyable for everyone in attendance. Who knows? Future generations may look back on you as the creator of a long-standing Thanksgiving tradition. Crafting a Thanksgiving that children look forward to and can look back on fondly requires a little bit of ingenuity. Put in the effort to create an experience kids will love, and the rewards will be sweeter than even the best piece of apple pie.
Thanksgiving Prep for the Whole Family Thanksgiving is more than just a feast; it’s about coming together as a family and being thankful for one another. So why wait to get into the spirit until everyone is seated at the table? Here are a few ways you can make the actual preparation of Thanksgiving dinner fun and engaging for the whole family! Give Everyone a Role No, not those rolls — yet. Making the feast a family project can turn the day from a hectic list of chores into a magical bonding experience. It’s important to match each family member to a job that best fits their abilities. Young children can mash potatoes or rinse ingredients in the sink. Older kids can take on more responsibility, like measuring ingredients, keeping an eye on timers, and setting the table. Teens and young adults can supervise their younger siblings and cousins in these important tasks and may be called upon to stir what’s on the stove while an adult checks on the football game. Roll Out the Decorations Still not talking about bread. Not everything in Thanksgiving preparation needs to be tied to the kitchen. Creative family members of all ages can
work together to bring some seasonal flare to the dining room. Maybe this means picking up some Thanksgiving coloring books, or perhaps the family can venture outdoors to collect autumn trimmings for crafts. It’s a great way to let each family member put their own personal spin on the holiday! Have a ‘Roller Derby’ Finally. While an adult should be the one to put these delicious baked goods in the oven, the whole family can help shape the dough. In fact, Care.com recommends making this a contest. Set aside a time when everyone can vie for the title of Fastest Roll Maker, and you’ll have plenty of warm, flaky, delicious treats come dinnertime. Letting everyone play a part may take a little more planning and add slightly more chaos to your Thanksgiving preparations. But it’s sure to produce a lot of great memories and bonding moments among your loved ones. And by the time you sit down to eat, you’ll all have something to be thankful for right in front of you — Those. Delicious. Rolls.
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