How to Involve the Kids in Thanksgiving Prep

October 20, 2019

Thanksgiving is rapidly approaching; soon, you’ll be feasting on turkey, stuffing, cranberry sauce, pumpkin pie, and all the other goodies in a Thanksgiving dinner.

But as a parent, you’re aware of the massive amount of preparation that goes into a successful and delicious Thanksgiving dinner.

At first, you may think the best way to prepare Thanksgiving dinner in peace is to distract your kids all day with something else.

However, you can and should involve your kids in Thanksgiving prep. It is a family holiday, after all.

How it Helps Your Children

Involving the kids in Thanksgiving prep won’t just make your life easier; it’ll actually benefit them in a few ways.

First of all, they learn early. Today, they might only be able to help set the table. But if they help every year, you can involve them more and more. If and when they have their own family one day, they’ll be better prepared to cook their own Thanksgiving meals.

Involving them can also boost their self-esteem. Completing tasks will give them a sense of accomplishment; they’ll feel like their contributions to dinner are valuable, raising their sense of self-esteem and bringing the family closer together.

Lastly, they might gain an appreciation for the hard work that goes into cooking anything, especially a giant Thanksgiving dinner.

Ways to Involve the Kids in Thanksgiving Prep
Menu Planning

Have your child help you plan the menu. Let your children choose a dish they want to be at Thanksgiving dinner. If you have older children, they can also help you with your shopping list.

Assembling Cookware

Thanksgiving dinner puts a lot of your kitchen utensils and dishes to use. Work alongside your children to assemble all your pots, pans, dishes, and utensils.

Prep Tasks

Involve your kids by requesting their help with food prep tasks. They can wash vegetables, chop herbs (use a dual-handle knife like a mezzaluna so they can’t chop their fingers, and avoid vegetables that can roll around), scrub off potatoes and carrots, trim green beans, and measure/mix ingredients for more complicated dishes.

Holiday Cookies

Holiday cookies are a classic fun way to let your child express themselves artistically while creating a delicious holiday treat.

Younger children probably aren’t ready to bake cookies yet, but you can have them decorate with colorful holiday frosting and sprinkles. When your children get older, you can teach them how to bake cookies as well.

Decorating and Setting the Table

One of the easiest yet most important parts of Thanksgiving is setting the table. Set the table for one person as an example, then have them try to imitate it for every other seat.

Setting the table doesn’t stop there. Your children can also make place cards for each guest. This can be fun for them, as they can get creative and make them colorful and decorative.

Helping Guests

Involving your kids doesn’t stop at food and silverware. When your company arrives, have your children greet them, take their coats, and lead them to hor d’oerves or drinks.


Perhaps the easier one of all, get your children to help you clean up. Washing dishes, cleaning off the table, putting things away, etc. The more they help, the faster you’ll have a clean dining area.

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