Preparing a Thanksgiving meal is a big task, but you don’t have to do all the work yourself. Make it a family affair and get your kids involved. Depending how old your kids are, they can help out in a variety of ways.

Kids also like to know the “why” of this great American holiday.  You can view this article, and adapt the information to your child’s age.

Sit down with everyone before Thanksgiving and plan your menu. Adults should look here to get their planning ideas first. Find out what foods your kids want to eat and what new foods they would be willing to try. Use this time to explain the importance of having a balanced meal that includes turkey, vegetables and a variety of other dishes.

On Thanksgiving, ask your youngsters to help set the dinner table. They can fold napkins, set out the plates, put ice cubes in the water glasses. They can also carry plated dishes to the serving area.

If your kids are old enough to be in the kitchen, they can help with the side dishes. Have them slice cranberry sauce from a can or arrange pickles and olives on a platter. They can transfer food from pots into the serving dishes. If you bake homemade pies, let your kids mix the ingredients and pour the filling into the pie plate.

For kids that want to be more hands on, get them involved with the prep work. Have them mash potatoes or chop vegetables for a salad. Just make sure they are being supervised when they are using sharp knives.

If cooking isn’t your child’s thing, recruit them to help with clean up. Let them scrape and rinse dishes before loading the dishwasher or get them to sweep the floor before they’re allowed to have dessert.

Don’t stress about doing all the work yourself this year. You will find that you will build lasting memories of this great holiday when you involve your children in the preparation.

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