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Getting Your Kids to Act Their Best This Thanksgiving



Although many people look forward to the holidays, if you have children, you’ve learned to dread those family gatherings. Without fail, at least one of your children will act up while everyone is sitting around the table, enjoying a Thanksgiving meal. Sound familiar? Here are a few tips you can use to get your kids to act their best this Thanksgiving.


Lay Out Your Expectations

Your expectations for your children at a family gathering are probably different than your expectations for them at home. If your kids don’t know what you expect, how can they live up to your standards? Before heading to that Thanksgiving dinner, let your children know what you expect out of them. This includes letting them know which behaviors are appropriate, as well as what you expect them to eat for the meal. You don’t want any tantrums or arguments if your kids load up their plates with dessert and you replace them with healthier choices.

Have a Practice Dinner

Because your expectations for Thanksgiving dinner might be more rigid than your expectations for a normal family meal, you might want to have a practice run. The day before your Thanksgiving gathering, sit around the table and practice what your kids can expect. This includes any prayers that might be said over the dinner table, as well as any traditions your family partakes in. You can observe how your children act during the practice run, and give them tips on how they can improve for the real deal.

Use Incentives

There’s nothing wrong with a little bribery when it comes to getting your kids to act the right way. To help your children live up to your expectations, try using some incentives. Let your kids know that if they follow your rules and expectations, they get something special for their efforts. Keep in mind that incentives don’t need to be expensive gifts or toys. You can tell your children that they can get an extra dessert to take home if they behave or that they can pick out your Christmas tree the next day.

Check In with your Kids

At your family gathering, don’t forget to check in with your kids. You can see how well they’re playing with any cousins that might be there and whether or not they’re following the rules. Each time you check in with your kids, they’re gently reminded that you’re keeping an eye on them, making them more likely to behave.

Thanksgiving gatherings should be a joyous occasion free from stress. These tips on getting your kids to act their best will help parents enjoy their Thanksgiving meal, not dread it.

What are some ways you get your kids to act their best over the holidays?


Annmarie John
27 Comments
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27 comments:

  1. Incentives, or as I call them - bribes - work well. When there is a reward involved, my kids usually do much better.

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  2. Every holiday dinner we use bribes. My kids know that if they are on their best behavior, help out and make sure everyone else is having a good time they get to choose a new Lego set. This has worked for years.

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  3. Bribery is always your best bet with kids. Of course if they misbehave you have to punish them, but keeping them from misbehaving is always easiest when you bribe them. Little extortionists... =D

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  4. Good tips - I so remember those days! Bribes always seemed to work for us.

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  5. I might be the only one who doesn't bribe!
    We deal with the behaviour as it happens and move on.
    ur kids are pretty good for the most part but there have been some interesting lessons along the way!

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  6. Bribing always work for us. My niece and nephew knows that if they behave they'll get something nice at the end. Well I don't call it a bribe, I call it an incentive. :)

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  7. Thankfully, my kids have always been pretty decently behaved at get togethers. That definitely kept the cost of their motivation down.

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  8. We usuallly invite another family with kids and have a kids table, turn on a movie when they are done eating and we are good.

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  9. I love this! I wish more people would put this kind of thought and planning into preparing their children for big events. I think everyone - kids included - will be happier when they know what is expected of them from the outset. Thanks for sharing!

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  10. Having a practice dinner is really a good idea. I've never had to worry about too formal an affair to do that, but if I did, a practice session would have been super smart.

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  11. These are great ideas. For better or worse, bribery usually works :)

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  12. This is all new to me since JR is so young. It's nice to think about for different events we might have to go to with him and more of our kids in the future though for sure. I like your ideas. :)

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  13. I think having a practice dinner is a great idea. You can really play it up and make a super important event so the practice is fun.

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  14. My kids just know they BEST be good at other's houses. I dont reward them for doing something they are suppose to do, or better be doing!

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  15. We get together with family on Thanksgiving, doing this I personally think is giving them to best. They are surrounded by loved ones and they get to play with their cousins!

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  16. I have never thought about a practice dinner. Very cool idea.

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  17. I love these suggestions. I also think that you let them know that they can get a reward that would be awesome as well.

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  18. Nice tips. Our girls are great kids over all. couldnt be more happy with them.

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  19. These are great ideas for entertaining family all year long.

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  20. I really like the idea of having a practice dinner with the kids. I think that can help let them know what to do so they dont have to act out or interrupt for something.

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  21. I just have my kids behave so that when special events come up, they already know what to do. Etiquette classes are helpful as well.

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  22. Ours are so informal that we are ok. If we were going to a more formal relative's home though, a practice run would be awesome.

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  23. I'm so glad my inlaws will be here. They can keep an eye on them while hubs and I are busy in the kitchen. :P

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  24. I'm a big believer in not expecting more from kids than they are equipped to handle, but events like Thanksgiving are great learning opportunities! A practice run is a great idea – I might use that to practice restaurant manners!

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  25. Bribes work for me. lol. I was lucky I guess ...My kids have always been so well behaved.

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  26. I have to say that letting kids act like kids and not expecting 4 year olds to have adult behaviors is a good thought to keep in mind. Absolutely start in on manners, etc but remember they are still kids. Relax, Enjoy those family memories! :)

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  27. Great ideas! Going through some of these issues myself right now, so these are really helpful! Thanks!

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[name=AnnMarie John] [img=https://3.bp.blogspot.com/-X9gUeVik-ZY/WJjwNTOobII/AAAAAAABTJ4/qEhU0n62_AIo-j6-6LA2OFOr44lKCHASwCLcB/s100/AnnMarie%2BJohn%2BHeadshot.JPG] [description=AnnMarie John is a lifestyle blogger, mom of 4, retired army veteran and a huge Disney lover. Formerly from the beautiful island of St. Vincent and the Grenadines in the Caribbean and now living in colorful Colorado, she loves sharing her opinions on everything, crafting and food.] (facebook=http://www.facebook.com/theannmariejohn) (instagram=http://www.instagram.com/theannmariejohn) (twitter=http://www.twitter.com/theannmariejohn) (pinterest=http://www.pinterest.com/theannmariejohn) (email=mailto:annmarie@annmariejohn.com)

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