Getting Your Child Involved in Thanksgiving
November 27th, 2013 posted by Rebecca Brea
Are you looking for ways to involve your older children in the myriad tasks surrounding the Thanksgiving holiday? Just keeping younger children out from underfoot while you get ready for the holiday may be enough for some. But, if all your kids are in the tween and teen stage, now is the time to get them involved in planning the big event and thinking about giving back to others.
Crack open the cookbook: Your tween or teen is old enough now to help you plan the Thanksgiving meal. Review menu items that they can help prepare such as pies, stuffing, side dishes, etc. Give them a voice in what will be served, make shopping lists together and pick out foods together. Taking ownership in the planning and execution of the big event will give them some insight into the effort it takes to pull it off year after year, and, hopefully, a newfound gratitude for all your work!
Use their tech-savvy skills: Put your teen’s tech skills to good use! They can set up a Thanksgiving event on their Facebook page for family and guests to communicate about travel plans, any dishes folks plan to bring, sleeping arrangements that need to be set up, etc. Put him or her in charge of monitoring this event and keeping you updated.
Charity and donations: In many parts of the country, it’s already pretty chilly by the time Thanksgiving rolls around. Charge your older children with cleaning out their closets and donating gently used winter clothing to the Salvation Army or local church or charity. Many communities host a Thanksgiving dinner for the homeless in community centers or schools in the weeks before Thanksgiving and need volunteers to help serve and keep the younger guests occupied. Check with your church, school or community center for opportunities where tweens and teens can give back. And let’s not forget our troops: a handwritten letter can mean the world to a soldier who can’t be with his or her family for the holiday. Check out the guidelines at Operation Gratitude to help kids write letters of thanks to those who serve.
Decorating and crafts: Having a kids table? Let the kids dress it up with their own handmade placemats. Older kids can help younger ones use the downloadable here or cut paper grocery bags to placemat size and draw or write about what they are thankful for. Paper leaves cut from construction paper can be scattered about the table and also used to write out thankful thoughts. For the adult table, your creative tween or teen can design place cards from scrapbook paper or cardstock (or print out their own design). At dinner have guests write down what they’re thankful for and then share those thoughts as the meal comes to a close.
Having a houseful of guests and need hosting tips? Check out Hosting House Guests 101 for ideas. Want more suggestions for thoughtful giving and getting the family into a charitable spirit? Read Teaching Charity To Our Children for inspiration.