Even small children can play a part when preparing for Thanksgiving. Start with simple tasks and build to more complex roles as your children get older and more able to contribute. Here are a few ideas.
Youngest children: Even a toddler can draw a Thanksgiving picture to put on the front door to welcome guests. Any crafts created in preschool or grade school can grace a table or buffet. Assign simple duties such as helping to set the table to make them feel a part of the day.
Grade-school children: How about assigning each child a side dish to help create? Go over the menu and ask which dish sounds like the most fun to make. You may want to pull in an adult who is not the primary chef in the house to help make the dish – giving them a chance to bond and contribute to the holiday. Children at this age could also be responsible for setting the table and creating a Thanksgiving centerpiece.
High school children: By this age, a teen can take over one or more dishes for the Thanksgiving table. You might want to have them help plan the menu – adding appetizers or a special dessert to go along with the pumpkin pie. If there will be younger children attending, ask your teenager to come up with activities to keep the small fry entertained and out of trouble before, during and after the meal.
Take the time when at the table to ask everyone what they are thankful for from the past year. You might want to discuss the topic in advance with younger children so that they have a chance to think about their answers.
Finally, involve the children in the clean-up. The more hands to help, the faster your whole family can relax and digest that incredible dinner!