Thanksgiving isn’t just about entertaining football games and delicious food and for children, Thanksgiving can be very exciting, especially when they know each year their family does fun activities together. When a family begins a yearly tradition – even something as simple as watching the Thanksgiving Day parade together– they are not only making the day enjoyable and memorable for their children, they are helping their children learn ways to express their feelings.
Here are five fun Thanksgiving traditions you can start this year:
- Cook or bake together: Every day cooking can be much easier when the adults just take care of it, but preparing for Thanksgiving can be a great excuse to finally let your children help out. Find a recipe that is on the easier side and give them age appropriate tasks. If you rather satisfy your sweet tooth, let the kids help with baking the desserts, such as shaping the cookies or decorating your delicious treats. Getting the whole family involved will make this activity even more fun.
- Eat dinner as a family: This may sound like a silly tradition, but for some families eating dinner together can be a rare event at their house. Whether it is because one family member works too late, or that the adults are too busy to actually sit down and enjoy the meal, make an honest effort to have the entire family enjoy a meal together. Though your children may understand why family dinners don’t happen often, they will love and appreciate this tradition.
- Plan at least one fun activity as a family: There are so many fun things families can do together during the Thanksgiving holiday. Thanksgiving Day itself can be very busy, so think outside the box about what activity or activities you can do leading up. For example, prepare for the holiday by going pumpkin picking for table centerpieces or apple picking to use when you bake homemade apple pies! If you rather do a fun activity on the day of Thanksgiving, brainstorm a fun indoor idea, such as watching the Thanksgiving Day parade, and an outdoor idea in case the weather is nice, such as a game of flag football, going for a walk or hike, or playing in the leaves.
- Give thanks: This may be a family favorite to do at Thanksgiving. Each year, find a time to share what you are thankful for. You can do this during dinner and have each family member, even the littlest ones, give a “toast” and say that they are thankful for, or you can find other creative ways such as decorating a table cloth with words and pictures or creating a “Thankful Jar” and sharing what people wrote during dessert.
- Give back: This tradition is all about appreciating what you have, and giving back to those less fortunate. This is a great tradition to teach your children that it may be fun to receive, but it’s also rewarding to give. Your acts of kindness can be big or small, such as writing a thank you card to a neighbor, or helping out a family in the community with their Thanksgiving meal or donating food to a food shelter.
What are your favorite family Thanksgiving Day traditions?