I can’t believe Thanksgiving is almost here. I love spending the whole day cooking a meal that usually takes only fifteen minutes to eat!
We have not established many Thanksgiving traditions yet in our house. This is because we are usually at another family member’s house. We usually crowd around one big table, kids and adults together. But lots of people choose to do a kids table. I thought I would do some research to see if this is something that I might try the next time we host dinner at our house. I asked some Smarty mom’s and here is what I found out:
Having a kids table can be fun for kids and adults. It allows the adults to engage in conversation among themselves. With kids at their own table, they can enjoy some independence and their own conversation. Since kids usually eat faster than the adults, they can be dismissed from their table without disrupting the adults.
There are some cons to this set up. The kids don’t get to partake in an adult dinner. The key is to make sure that the children’s table maintains the specialness of the holiday and that is doesn’t become a free-for-all. I have heard that a kids table works best when the children are at least four or five and older. This will avoid super young kids continually pulling their parents away from the table to tend to them. A solution to this is to have some older children that you put in charge of the younger children at the kid’s table, possibly even give them a small babysitting fee.
A kid’s table can also be a con because the whole family is not together. This can be solved by putting the kid’s table not too far from the adult table if possible and making sure that everyone should say the blessing together and be seated at the same time.
There are lots of ways to make the kids table special. One reader gets a large paper tablecloth and has kids draw things they are thankful for on it with crayons. Another fun idea is to get the kids to dress up like Pilgrims and Indians. Or have them help set the table. They can color/decorate the place cards for everyone. You can make little turkeys out of construction paper and have them write names. Another tradition is to give all of the kids at the table a Christmas-oriented present. It could be an ornament or decoration of some type, just something fun to get them excited about Christmas.
One of my friends told me that they do not have enough room to seat the whole family at once, so they let the kids eat first. Then the kids watch a movie while the adults eat and everyone eats dessert together. Sounds like a great solution.
Please tell us about your Thanksgiving traditions or tips to make this day special.
Some of my most cherished Thanksgiving and Christmas memories is the time spent at the kids table with my brother and sisters, and my cousins who were visiting. We would have the best time- talking as we would like, being silly and just having fun. Not every must be a perfect Hallmark moment or a lesson in table manners. This is a perfect opportunity for fun and memory making, and if that includes my sister laughing so hard that milk comes out her nose … well, so be it.I do love the idea of kids eating first and then a movie while adults eat. We do this on vacations b/c of space constraints and it always works.
I have wonderful memories as well of all the cousins sitting at the kids table on Thanksgiving. We would get to talk and laugh with each other – and yes, some peas did end up in each other’s milk. The adult table and kids table were only about 5 feet away from each other, but we felt grown up in our own way that we were eating independently of our parents.Now that we host Thanksgiving, we always start the day going to the parade. It wears the kids out enough that I have some time to myself when we get home to get the dinner together and prepare for the rest of the family to come over. We have a kids table too and I will usually make a special placecard for them at each seat with their name so that they feel grown up and special. Have your children to help make them and you get some fun quality time together as well.Happy Thanksgiving!
All for the kids table here!! Loved it as a kid and now as a parent it is nice that the kids are old enough to sit and eat by themselves and we are not having to police every move. Much more relaxing for everyone. We eat together as a family almost every night but are now with family that often so it is nice for them to get to visit with cousins and be goofy at the table while the adults have some time to catch up themselves.
In my family the kids’ table got a really bad rap. Every Christmas Eve we gathered at my Dad’s parents’ house. My cousins and I were relegated to the (cold) kitchen with the door to the candle lit dining room closed. The isolation and lesser accomodations did make us feel like second class citizens and to this day we still joke about it. The one saving grace was that we could scrape anything we didn’t want off of our plates onto the floor for the dog to eat. We were unable to appreciate my Dad’s stepmother’s Easter European dishes and the separation from the adult table assured that no matter what was served, our plates were always clean! As a mom I love having the little kids at the “big” table, but for all the reasons noted, love the kid table too as long as it is right there next to us and not in the other room!
Now that I have my own child (and another on the way) I finally graduated to the “adult” table a few years ago. I am jealous that my 28 year old bachelor brother still gets to sit with the kids! The kids’ table is definitely the place to be!
Loved the comments. With 17 coming for dinner, and about half children, I love the idea of the craft paper for the kids to color and draw. They will be close, but not in our laps! 🙂