Parenting isn’t easy at any time but especially of the holiday season. Are your children more of a hindrance than a help at Thanksgiving? Do they tend to get a little greedy and entitled around the holidays? Here are 25 jobs for children to help in Thanksgiving preparations. Good parenting means putting kids to work helping at Thanksgiving, not just letting them sit around, watch TV and get waited on. Perks are that children learn unselfishness, community spirit and satisfaction of a job well done. And the whole family gets memory making and bonding time. Good parenting also means making each child feel important. Each task has a job title (kids love job titles–it makes them feel like valued contributors not just idle spectators.) Kids can double up on jobs as some are done at different times.
Holiday parenting: jobs for children under 3.
Artist in Residence: Print off placemats and give her the job of working at her desk (coloring in her highchair). This helper must color the Thanksgiving or holiday placemats, one for each guest. Official Thanksgiving taste tester. This is a very important job as he must make sure the food is edible. Teach kids that in days of old, the taste tester checked for poison in foods. Your child won’t have to do that (oh darn, say the adventure loving kiddies!).
Pie Crust Maker. Give him his own little blob of dough and a pot pie tin to make his pie. He can cut the fruit and create his own. recipe. Chief Dishwasher: Give your little helper an old apron, some dish soap, water and some of the less breakable dishes (not grandma’s gravy boat). Soon she’ll have your dishes (and probably the floor) clean and sparkling. Greeter: this child welcomes guests, takes coats and belongings and ferries food offerings to kitchen. He also seats people (let him make place cards for each guest). Pet supervisor; pets get nervous at holiday time. Little ones can pet and reassure them and help them feel safe. Potato peel picker upper collects scraps from floor and the pet feeder gives scraps to pet rodents or squirrels and birds outside.
Holiday parenting: jobs for children 3-6 years old to help in Thanksgiving holiday preparation. The Miller uses the applesauce mill to make the applesauce. The Dairyman shakes the whipping cream to make butter. The Official Potato Peeler preps the potatoes, white and sweet, for cooking. The Baker make the bread, canned biscuits or croissants. Pumpkin Pie Mixer measures the ingredients and blends for pumpkin pie. The Apple Slicer pares the apples for pie. Use a plastic knife or teach paring knife safety. The Package Opener/ box crusher gathers up recycling, collapses boxes, folds bags, cleans cans and removes labels.
Chair washer wipes down chairs before company comes. This is a great job for younger children (whose eyes are actually young enough to see the dirt!). The Table Setter counts out forks, knives, spoons, plates, cups and napkins for all guests (this is a great math lesson on sets, division and multiplication. Potato masher: give this job to your mini wrecking ball (every family has one). She can pound away at the potatoes and they will only get smoother and creamier.
Holiday parenting: jobs for children under 10.
Poet Laureate: This child can write a poem of thanksgiving and welcome for guests, family blessing, prayers, etc. The Pie Maker assembles to prepped food and makes the pies. The Onion and Celery Chopper preps onions and celery for stuffing. She might also be the Bread Cuber who cuts bread into cubes and supervises drying for stuffing. This person can also be the Stuffing Mixer who mixes stuffing with hands and puts into turkey.
The Scribe helps the younger kids make a “Giving Thanks” chain. Each family member shares one thing they are thankful for on each link. The chain should be as long as there are days from Thanksgiving until Christmas, Hanukkah or Kwanzaa. Each day, remove a link and read. The chain gets shorter as your holiday arrives.
The Beverage Server takes drink requests from guests and serves them their drinks (with a napkin). She makes sure there are coasters on the tables. She might also be the Spill monitor who helps to keep up with all the food, beverage and cooking spills. Use your creativity to come up with more holiday jobs for children.