Sandwiched between the sugar rush that is Halloween and the hustle bustle of Christmas shopping, Thanksgiving gives us pause to be grateful for the simplicity of food and family. What better opportunity to add to your holiday traditions by making Thanksgiving more meaningful for your children.
- As you sit down for dinner every evening with your family, invite each person to say one thing for which they are thankful. Don’t wait until Thanksgiving Day, start now. By the time your young children sit down to gobble turkey, they will be well-versed in the routine (and may even impress your relatives.) Get your child in the habit of being grateful.
- Give to a local food pantry such as Pewaukee Food Pantry or Food Pantry of Waukesha County. Explain to your child that not everyone has enough money to buy food. Invite them to go grocery shopping with you and choose items they think the less fortunate should have. Allow little ones to place your purchases in a pretty basket and tie with a bow. Assist your child in making a homemade card, attach it to the basket, and then drop it off at a food pantry.
- Spend some time with your little ones doing nothing. Just sit. Watch how they gravitate toward you, crawl on your lap, and want to be with you. Let them know you enjoy their company. Once you’ve created an atmosphere of peace and calm (this is not a joke), read some Thanksgiving stories from the Milwaukee Public Library such as Franklin’s Thanksgiving by Paulette Bourgeois and Brenda Clark, My First Thanksgiving Book by Jane Belk Moncure, and The Very First Thanksgiving Day by Rhonda Gowler Greene and Susan Gaber.
- Make a Hand Turkey Table Cloth. Each person in the family makes a turkey with their handprint on a table cloth of your choosing, and then adds their name and the date. Leave enough space for future handprints as your children grow. This family activity will leave you with a treasured table linen.
- Invite your children to help decorate your dining table. Materials for making centerpieces can be found just outside your door. Allow your child to arrange sticks, acorns, leaves and more on a pretty platter, add a tall pillar candle and, voilà, you have the perfect focal point for your feast.
Adding meaningful traditions to your turkey day fun will be remembered for years to come.
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