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Tips for Cooking Thanksgiving Meal with your Kids

Can you believe we're only a week away from Thanksgiving? Thanksgiving is a big deal in our household and I try and include the kids in whatever activities that we have planned for that day. Whether your kids are barely toddling around or are old enough to do some of the actual cooking, they can be involved in the Thanksgiving meal preparations. It may take a little longer to cook the meal if you enlist the help of the young kids, but the rewards far outweigh the inconvenience of having the kids in the kitchen with you. Here are 3 tips for Tips for Cooking Thanksgiving Meal with your Kids.

Relax your Expectations

The odds are that you will end up with more of a mess when the kids get involved, but the memories you create around the kitchen counter are priceless. You might want to turn on relaxing music to keep the environment calm and then relax your expectations so you can enjoy the moments. You may end up with flour on the floor or cranberry sauce on the counter, but remember that they are learning.

One mistake some parents make is that they don't make their kids finish the cooking job. When you create a mess, you must help clean it up. Don't let them off easy. Show them how to cook, but then help them see it through to the end where your counters are clear and the floors are clean.

Keep it Simple

Think about the kids ages and skillset. Can they handle the mixer? Are they old enough to help chop the vegetables for the dressing? Are they better equipped to just pour in certain ingredients while you handle the actual cooking? Whether they need a stepstool to reach the counter or are towering over you, give them a job they can safely handle.

Allow their Input

Kids of all ages have some very strong opinions. Let them help plan the menu or the cooking schedule. You may need to steer them in the right direction, but give them some options that will allow them to feel like they are contributing to the planning.

Would you rather help fix the mashed potatoes or the dessert? Do you think we should put nuts in all the cookies or just half the batch? Asking them questions will give them ownership in the meal and create skills for future years.

Do you let your kids help with holiday meals? Got any tips to share that have worked for you and your kids? I'd love to hear!

Annmarie John
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  1. These are great tips. It's more important that kids feel involved and empowered than that everything comes out perfect.

  2. All great tips I have done Thanksgiving dinner (except for this year) every year since before I had the boys, so they grew up with it.

  3. Good advice. Always good to relax and enjoy the kids.

  4. Very good tips - Keep it simple is so important. I have always cooked with the kids and grandchildren. They love being part of the preparation of the meal. PRICELESS MEMORIES!

  5. Definitely some awesome tips. We're hosting Thanksgiving this year so the kids will definitely be having some input!

  6. WE keep the kids engaged and try to invite at least one other family with kids with similiar ages.

  7. So important and so easy to forget to stop and do. Thanks for the reminder.

  8. I love Scarlet's input on cooking! Although it usually involves rainbow sprinkles. Which is pretty much my input too!

  9. I still enjoy cooking with my teens, thank you for the tips.

  10. We go to family's house and bring sides which works out great for me! We all bring sides or desserts so that one person does not endure the cost and time.

  11. It is great to let children help with Thanksgiving. It helps the, be part of the tradition.

  12. The first tip is the very biggest one for me. We bake cookies every year, and especially at Thanksgiving we make a sweet treat for every table setting. I used to be a perfectionist, so relaxing my expectations did not come easy to me. In order for my kids to have fun with it and to make great memories, I had to learn how to let go!

  13. I love your tips. I do most of what you said, except the one about following up to the end. I do let them off of the hook for cleaning, well I used to... and you're right, it's VERY smart not to do it. I think it's fun to have the kids in the kitchen. I welcome any opportunity they want to be there, and I invite them often. :)

  14. One of my most favorite memories surrounding the holidays is sitting around with my mom, helping her make the menu for the festivities. We still do this to this day!

  15. What a great idea to get kiddos involved in the Thanksgiving meal prep process!

  16. When my kids first started helping, I had them help me plan the menu. This way there was no excuses not to eat! I'd measure ingredients and they'd pour it in and help mix. They were always excellent at cleaning up!

    Now, they are teens, so much more cooking it expected.

  17. These are some good tips. I let my boys help out with little things.

  18. My kids always help me. We do the desserts for the family

  19. I don't cook Thanksgiving meal with kids since I don't have any. I do however let my niece and nephew help out if they're around and there's things left to do. Usually they help with dessert.

  20. Great post! Some of my best childhood memories are of helping my mom cook! Thank you so much for sharing at the (extra-long) #homematters linky party! A brand new party starts TOMORROW! We hope to see you then! :)


[name=AnnMarie John] [img=] [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= (instagram= (twitter= (pinterest= (

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