Happy Thanksgiving: How to Graduate from the Kiddie Table

Happy Thanksgiving: How to Graduate from the Kiddie TableLet’s Talk Teens and Turkey!  Thanksgiving is just around the corner, and at my house, that means my daughter will be home from college, and my son will have a week off from high school. They’ll need to crash, regroup, and just relax, right?

Wrong!  This year, in order to graduate from the kiddie table, and learn the true meaning of Thanksgiving, they get to help.

This year, I want my offspring to roll up their sleeves and be a part of the celebration prep. Not to punish them, of course, but to share with them a glimpse at the “giving” part of the holiday.

To that end, here are my ideas for different ways they might pitch in:

  1. Help Cook –  After we collaborate on the menu, each kid gets to pick a dish and make it, with or without my help. This can include going with me to purchase the ingredients (which I highly recommend doing no later than the Monday before).
  2. Set the Table – I have a full arsenal of China, silver, and crystal at their disposal. It might be fun to get my teens’ interpretation of a holiday spread. Another option is to ask them to create a centerpiece or a “thankful tablecloth,” where guests can write their blessings while they eat.
  3. Help Serve – Glass refills, plate reloads, or just clearing a space – my daughter has plenty of restaurant serving experience to pull this off. It’s a great way to teach the good hostess trick of anticipating a guest’s needs.
  4. Take Photos – When archaeologists dig up your family albums, will they know you existed? Teens are very skilled with a camera (think selfies) and can capture some moments for you for posterity, with some super flattering filters.
  5. No Screens – With the exception of taking photos, ask your kids to leave their phones in their rooms. Thanksgiving is a time to connect and reflect, and that’s not so easy to do with SnapChat running in the background.
  6. Help Clean – Let’s be honest, no one ever wants to do the dishes. But it sure would be nice to get a day off! Just as much work can go into the aftermath of a successful holiday as into the preparation. And this way, the adults can start their naps early…

For my part, I pledge to have a place for them at the “big” table, so that they aren’t scrunched over a tray table with their knees bumping up under their plates. Or, I will sit at the kiddie table and enjoy some holiday hijinks with my sweet nieces and nephews.

However you celebrate, the most important part is to be with the ones you love!   What are some of your Thanksgiving traditions with your kids?  Please post below!