As we prepare to celebrate Thanksgiving, let us be mindful to make sure the Holiday is enjoyable for our children as well.
Young children cannot sit quietly for long periods, so let them play before they eat as well as after they finish eating. Bringing crayons and coloring books can help keep them occupied.
Encourage them to try new foods, but don’t force them to eat stuff they truly don’t like. Try to have one thing that they like at the meal.
Model good manners to your children. If they are old enough (3 years and up), have fun practicing good manners before Thanksgiving. Just don’t expect perfection from young children as they are still learning and developing fine motor skills.
Let them participate in ways they can enjoy. Allow them to engage in conversations. Ask them what they are grateful for, and talk about being grateful all year.
For young children, being in a new place and/or having a lot of people around may overwhelm them. Be prepared to help your child take a break from all the activity. Explain to guests that they need to respect your children’s personal space if your children aren’t comfortable hugging and kissing. Suggest something less invasive that your children may be more comfortable with such as giving high fives.
Do your best to stick as closely to your children’s routines as possible. Help prepare your children for changes by telling them what to expect beforehand. When new transitions come up on Thanksgiving, be prepared to help your children get through them if they tend to struggle with transitions.
Finally, plan family activities that everyone can enjoy to encourage bonding with relatives that the children may not often see.
A few simple steps and some planning ahead can help make Thanksgiving enjoyable for all!
“Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good;
For His lovingkindness is everlasting” (Psalm 118:1, NASB).
“Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, and into his courts with praise: be thankful unto him, and bless his name” (Psalm 100:4, KJV).
*A special note: Some of us will be grieving on Thanksgiving and throughout the Holiday season as we’ve lost loved ones. Please acknowledge, validate, and express that grief. There is joy amidst the sorrow. Take the time to feel the pain if needed and remember loved ones.
May everyone have a blessed Thanksgiving!!!