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.
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.