When your family gathers around the Thanksgiving table this year, what will your kids think? Will they be excited about this holiday—or will they dread it?
When our kids were younger, Thanksgiving was a tricky holiday. Our kids were the only kids gathered around the dinner table with a bunch of adults. It was too easy to fall into the routine of preparing the meal, eating it, and then watching a football game, which neither of my kids wanted to do.
So, we began preparing for Thanksgiving in terms of our kids. What would they like to do? How could we help them connect more with the adults at the feast?
We had a couple of Thanksgivings where we went outside and played soccer or a game of catch. We had others where we brought new puzzles, card games, or board games. One year, an aunt brought pilgrim hats for everyone to wear. We also created ways for our kids to ask their grandparents and their aunts and uncles questions about their past. Both of my kids’ grandparents grew up on farms, so there were always great stories to hear in terms of the cows getting loose or having to build a barn or going barefoot in the summer to keep their shoes from wearing out so quickly because of growing up in the depression.
What do most families do during the Thanksgiving weekend holiday?
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the six most common activities include:
1. Eating and drinking
2. Watching TV
4. Preparing the food
5. Purchasing goods and services (starting the holiday shopping)
6. Socializing and communicating
It bothers me that socializing and communicating rank so low compared to the other activities. In many ways, Thanksgiving is the perfect holiday to talk and find out more about the fascinating lives of the people around the table. It’s a great holiday for our kids to learn more about their extended family and for extended family to get to know them. When we make our Thanksgiving more family friendly, we can create ways for kids to enjoy this holiday more and to connect more deeply with the people around them.
U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, “Thanksgiving,” November 2008.
ParentFurther.com,Holidays and Special Occasions
Family Fun Magazine, Thanksgiving Activities