5 Survival Tips For Thanksgiving at the Kids Table

Can you even believe that next week is Thanksgiving?! I'm so excited to dig into some delicious grub and catch up with family.

One of my favorite parts of Thanksgiving, and family get-togethers in general, is that I get to eat food that is warm and sometimes I don't even have to cook it! You're a mama. You feel me!

My kiddos are at the age now that they can sit and eat dinner with friends while the adults nosh and chat. As for the will they sit? These tips are here just for that: surviving thanksgiving at the kids table!

Thanksgiving at the Kids Table: Size Matters

Here's how it works:

  • Where you can, use a kid sized table, chairs, cutlery, glasses, etc.

  • You don't even have to go out of your way to get a table.

    • Kiddos are more than eager to gather 'round a coffee table or even have a "carpet picnic" if it means that they get to have a meal in an unusual way.

  • Try to make accommodations for the child's size, whether it's a phone book (wait, those are still around?!) used to boost a seat or using a juice glass instead of a goblet.

It makes all the difference in how long the children stay engaged and eating.

5 Survival Tips For Thanksgiving at the Kids Table

Thanksgiving at the Kids Table: Activities

Waiting is the number one enemy of a peaceful kiddie table. Presented with nothing else to do, children will inevitably create their own entertainment. And it usually won't be something you would have preferred.

  • Make the table inviting so that the children are excited to stop chasing each other around the living room.

  • Think a table covered in butcher paper with cups of brand new crayons beckoning them.

  • For older children, perhaps put a tic-tac-toe grid or hangman game on some paper to get them started.

Keep it simple; something you can easily clean up with just gathering up the table cloth. No mess. No fuss.

5 Survival Tips For Thanksgiving at the Kids Table

Thanksgiving at the Kids Table: Fun with Food

I will admit, I wasn't always the ginormous fan of Thanksgiving that you see today. Some of the food offered I only saw once a year and let's face it, looked weird. Not to mention the touching! Ack! Everything touched and ran together!Try to make the meal look more like food that the children are familiar with and will eat

  • Serve vegetables "plain" or with minimal seasoning so that they can see it's just like the green beans they eat other days.

  • Bonus points if they can interact with it (in an approved way).

    • Offer bread along with the turkey so that they can make their own sandwiches.

    • Let them help mash the potatoes or prepare another part of the meal.

It's amazing how much more invested children are in food that they helped prepare. And think of the lovely memories you'll be creating

5 Survival Tips For Thanksgiving at the Kids Table

Thanksgiving at the Kids Table: Successful dinnerware

This is probably common sense, but make sure you aren't attached to anything at the kid's table.

  • Make it easier on everyone by using disposable or plastic cutlery, plates and cups and linens at the little one.

    • Another option is to consider melamine plates; they are dishwasher friendly (top shelf), durable (read: droppable) and come in some super fun and cute patterns.

5 Survival Tips For Thanksgiving at the Kids Table

Thanksgiving at the Kids Table: Be One Step Ahead

Even if you have all your boxes ticked and set up for a perfectly successful kiddie table, keep in mind that the kiddos probably won't stay at the table for as long as you'd like.Between the fact that the meal happens in an unusual setting (either with extra family members/friends or at a different home) and the fact that their peers excite and distract them, chances are they will be ready to move on before the adults have finished their meals.

  • Be ready for this and have the next activity ready to go.

  • I think that a family-friendly movie once in a blue moon will not hurt anyone, and this is a great time to show one!

  • Have a fun movie picked out, or a pile of books that they can read or even puzzles.

Things that they can complete independently just until plates can be cleared and everyone is ready to rejoin.

So that’s it! My best tried-and true Early Childhood strategies for an incredible holiday dinner. Above all, remember to relax and enjoy friends and family! They were once kids, too!

If you found this helpful, you’ll want to grab the other parts of the Thanksgiving Survival Guide I’ve got to share. More on getting your living room ready for company, your guest room in order (with a bedding cheat sheet) and other goodies. Get the info. Read up. Meet the holiday season head on with reasonable expectations for your kids and your home.


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Hi! I’m Jen, a kids’ rooms designer extraordinaire and only semi-apologetic Hostess/Little Debbie addict. Read more about me here:

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