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Thanksgiving Prep with the Whole Family

November 26, 2014

By Noralba Martinez

Thanksgiving Prep with the Whole Family | A mother and teenage daughter prep vegetables for dinner.

Thanksgiving is a holiday full of tradition and meaningful history. It’s a time to give thanks, make wonderful memories with our families, and teach our children the importance of cooperation. Since Thanksgiving is such a family-centered holiday, why not get everyone involved with mealtime preparation and cleanup?

Here are some quick things you and your family can do to make Thanksgiving less stressful for you and more enjoyable for everyone (including the little ones).

  • Plan Ahead. Do all of your shopping ahead of time. Let your children help with the Thanksgiving dinner list and shopping. Ask teenagers to do the grocery shopping or let your grade school-aged kids find different ingredients while you’re at the store. Younger kids can put food items in the grocery cart and check them off the list.
  • Food Preparation. Allow your children to assist as much as they can, as extra sets of hands can be extremely helpful. Let your teenager make a dish on his or her own. Allow your younger child to mix and pour anything that is not dangerous. Younger kids can also get lightweight food items from the pantry, shelves, and refrigerator for you.
  • Fun Snacks. Make fun and simple snacks with your children. From turkey-shaped cookies to candy apples, adults and children enjoy eating a quick snack before or after dinner. I found some great Thanksgiving snack ideas here and here.
  • Set the Table. Ask your children to help you decorate and set the table. Let them use their imaginations or try fun projects together. We started a Pinterest page to inspire you. 
  • Clean Up. Encourage everyone to help clean up. Depending on their ages, your children can sweep, clean, and throw out the trash, amongst other chores.

Most importantly, enjoy this holiday with your family and remember to praise all of your children’s efforts. Encourage independence and individuality while your children help make this the best Thanksgiving ever. And remember to take pictures!

What are your favorite ways to get the family to help with Thanksgiving? Tell me in the comments below.

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