How Kids Can Help With Thanksgiving Prep

Mom and daughter cooking for Thanksgiving
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At this time of year, as we anticipate Thanksgiving, we can easily get stressed due to cooking duties, gatherings, house preparations, and more. A way to relieve that holiday stress is to plan and spread out the preparation and to keep in the forefront of our thoughts that this time of thanks, family, and delicious food is meant to be enjoyed. Showing the kids the positive and joyful spirit of holidays, and letting them take part in the preparations and festivities, leads to lasting happy memories. What can the kids do to take part in Thanksgiving prep? The possibilities are practically limitless.

Kids can help for Thanksgiving, and here are some suggestions of how.

  • Kitchen help. Depending on the ages of your children, there are a number of possibilities of how they can help. Whether they wash vegetables, toss salad, use measuring spoons to measure spices, or roll out dough, most kids enjoy being a part of the meal preparation if given the opportunity.
    • While planning the meal, ask what they’d like to help with and plan the meal together. Maybe they can write the grocery list for that item. Planning is a big part of stress free kitchen help from the kids. Maybe some of the things they want to help with can be done a few days before Thanksgiving.
    • My kids love to make Thanksgiving cookies every year, so we do this on the Tuesday before Thanksgiving. They get to help, but they aren’t in the kitchen trying to decorate cookies while all of the other foods are being prepared.
    • Make sure you go over kitchen safely with your children to minimize the chance of injury.
  • Table setting and décor. Children can set the table, with some guidance depending on age.  They can also be responsible for decorating the table using crafts that they have made at home or at school.
  • Place Cards. Let the kids get creative with homemade place cards. If you want something fancier for the adults, give the kids the task of place cards (and decorating) the kid’s table.
  • Thanksgiving placemats. Again, kids love to be creative. Placemats are fun to make and make a great keepsake. An idea is to make a “thankful” placemat showing all of the things they are thankful for this Thanksgiving.
  • Home decorating. Kids love crafts, so use their crafts to decorate your home for the holiday.  
  • Games. Have your kids get games, puzzles, and crafts ready to have on hand during the time off of school. If your kids aren’t old enough for gathering all of these items, you can assist. On Thanksgiving day, having this activity area set up can help when you need the kids out of the kitchen for final prep or serving. Maybe an older child can help with the games/rules, puzzles, and crafts. And if you are leaving home for Thanksgiving dinner, bring some games or puzzles with you as an easy way to provide entertainment for the kids.

    Whether the kids are helping in the kitchen, making crafts to use on the dinner table, or decorating your home, having them happily involved in holiday traditions is something to be thankful for each year.

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