Part 3 of this three part series is going to focus on things you can do to make Thanksgiving more enjoyable for kids and thus more enjoyable for you! If you missed Part 1 about Thanksgiving Recipes and/or Part 2 about Thanksgiving and Fall decor ideas make sure you go back to read them!
Let's start by imagining the scene: You've been preparing for your Thanksgiving dinner and guests for weeks. You spent hours creating your grocery list, dinner menu, and grocery shopping with ridiculously long lines to acquire all of the food items. The days leading up to Thanksgiving you begin to scrub down your home, get last minute necessities, and start prepping food items. The evening before you spend chopping, dicing, baking, marinading, etc. Thanksgiving morning you wake up at the crack of dawn to start the turkey in the oven and begin assembling dish after dish in between basting the turkey. You're hot and sweaty from standing near or over the oven and stove stirring, mashing, mixing, and basting some more. Then your guests arrive. Your feet hurt and you're a bit frazzled hoping that everything turns out ok and finishes cooking at the right times because timing is so important! You begin visiting with family (and friends) while multi-tasking to serve them drinks, show them where things are, ask them to get seated or to prepare their plates while still monitoring that the food you're about to serve is still the right temperature and not burning. You finally make your own plate of food, sit down at the table, say a prayer, and begin eating. Mid conversation with another adult you feel a little hand tugging at your sleeve. Or maybe it's a little one crying at the children's table because their cousin won't share a dinner roll. Or maybe it's spilled drink, or a dropped fork, or they're crying because they want to sit in your lap because they're bored and ALL YOU WANT TO DO is eat and have an adult conversation. Does any of this sound familiar?
Well, first of all I hope your family shares the responsibility of Thanksgiving dinner by bringing dishes to help out. But, regardless, if you find yourself personally in or around situations like this I think we all know that it has to be frustrating for everyone. Kid's can't help it. Kids will be kids, right? That's just how they are, and we were once kids experiencing this too. Knowing this already is precisely why it is best to be prepared to at least alleviate some of the child's frustrations during dinner and provide them an outlet of entertainment. There are a lot of ways you can help children enjoy the holidays in adult like settings which I think is important, but also important for you to be able to enjoy yourself as well!
I'll break my ideas down into two sections: FUN THANKSGIVING FOODS FOR KIDS and FUN ACTIVITIES FOR KIDS.
FUN THANKSGIVING FOODS FOR KIDS: We all know kids have different aversions to things but that they can also find food more appealing if you make it interesting. If you have a picky eater you can check out my (small) Pinterest board "Veggies for Picky Eaters" that I started creating a couple of years ago. It's been a while since I've added to it, but there are some neat tricks to consider.
Setting the Table: Entice the little ones to sit at their designated seats while the parents can make the plates for the kids! You can get them working on their "Thankful" list while giving them a visual treat with a small snack that will not ruin their appetite. My favorites are pictured below, but you can find more ideas here on Aprons and Apples.
Appetizers: For your appetizers like vegetable trays, fruit trays, or meat & cheese trays, try one of the below to make them more appealing to children:
Desserts & Sweet Treats: There are SO many cute ideas that some seriously clever people have created. You can see some of my favorites in the images below. If you want more details click on the image and you will be taken to their respective sites.
FUN ACTIVITIES FOR KIDS: In addition to the "Thankful" place mats that can help get children's minds working to think of what they're grateful for, there are a lot of free, printable activities that you can provide for them to work on AT the dinner table.
Click on the images below to be taken to their sites. These should all have free printables for you to use!
For more Thanksgiving ideas on recipes, decor, and activities, please visit my Thanksgiving & Fall Treats & Ideas page on Pinterest. It's not all inclusive of every amazing idea out there but it can help you get started!
If you found this blog post helpful then please share with your family & friends!