Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Thanksgiving Prep Today

Today would be a great day to involve your children in the process of preparing for the Thanksgivng meal or to be a good guest somewhere else.  Forget (as much as possible) about "perfection in look" and go for "involvement in the process."  Even if you want to do it all yourself, don't. You are training future hosts and hostesses and teaching your children to provide for other's needs.  It's NOT a good idea to train them to think adults exist to serve them.

If it's at your house:
  • Making place cards is a great activity for early writers.  You might have to give them a list of names so they can copy the spelling. 
  • If you're having a children's table let your children decorate it, set it up etc.
  • Talk through how they can help tomorrow:  greeting guests at the door and taking their coats to a nearby bedroom to lay neatly on the bed, clearing the table after eating, delivering dessert, etc.
  •  If there are very special toys that they might not want to share with children who will be coming, have them put those away today.
  • Older children can be in charge of one recipe:  green bean casserole is an easy one.
  • Tomorrow, make sure your children overhear you telling your guests how much they did and how proud you are of them.  (This is even better then praising them directly, I think.)
  • Set the main table tonight.  But what if its your family dinner table?  Throw a big blanket on the floor for a pizza picnic tonight and breakfast nibbles tomorrow morning.  Then just pick it up in and take it outside to shake it out after breakfast.
  • Have your techno wizard do a google search for beauthiful Thanksgiving prayers.  Have the children pick one to use before you eat tomorrow.
  • Go to church tonight or tomorrow, together, and talk together about all you have to be grateful for.
If it's at someone else's house:
  • Involve a child or two in what you're making to bring.  Have the child who helps you carry it tomorrow.  (You're creating ownership and involvement)
  • Plan a hostess gift together and make it or purchase it today to take tomorrow.
  • Sit down together and come up with a list of "good guest" ideas.  Ask questions to help them think this through.  Ask them which things on the list that they could do:  i.e. saying please and thank you, asking permission, asking to help, offering specific help (may I help you clear the dishes?)
  • If they will be going somewhere that is not very child friendly encourage them to bring a toy or game to share with others.  Be careful here...a bookworm or gamer who withdraws to an anti-social corner and does not connect with others is a bit rude.  You might need to teach this etiquette.
  • Sometimes children need help learning conversation skills.  Think together of conversation starters they could use:  What's your earliest Thanksgiving memory?  What recipe is a "must" on the menu as far as your concerned?  If you'll be watching football and your not a sports fan... atleast know who's playing and who the quarterbacks are.  Read together about them in the newspaper or online.
  • Even if you will be with family, don't stay too long.  If the kids (or your spouse) get cranky take them home. :)  Staying too long is wearing on the hosts even if it's your Mom and Dad.
Happy Thanksgiving.  My prayer is that your memories of the day will be delightful.  Don't sweat the small stuff!

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