ATK Kids

How to Involve Kids in Thanksgiving Prep

Delegating tasks to your kids gets them involved and may even lessen the load on your own shoulders.

Published Nov. 14, 2022.

In the hustle and bustle of cooking Thanksgiving dinner, it can seem easier to shoo kids out of the kitchen—and out of your hair. 

But involving young chefs in holiday cooking and baking not only creates wonderful—and sometimes hilarious—memories, it also takes some of the work off of your plate.

Here are some tips for getting kids involved in the Thanksgiving festivities. 

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1. Involve them in planning the menu

Ask your kids for help planning the menu to get them invested in the meal. 

2. Have your kids pitch in the day before

If you host a big dinner, you likely do lots of prep ahead of time. Enlist your kids to help with peeling, chopping, and stirring in the days leading up to the holiday, when there’s less pressure.

3. Put them in charge of beverages

Put kids in charge of taking drink orders and pouring them for guests. Do you leave a glass of water at every place setting? Kids can handle pouring water for everyone and making sure there’s a fresh pitcher ready to go with dinner.

4. Let kids choose one dish they can make

Provide them with a few simple options, like a baked sweet potato side dish or classic apple crisp for dessert (no pie dough to manage). You can even have them prep their ingredients ahead of time.

5. Ask kids to help prepare other meals on Thanksgiving day

There’s a lot that goes into getting the main meal of the day on the table. If you serve Thanksgiving dinner in the evening, you’ll need a lunch plan. Kids can tackle preparing a simple lunch with a can of soup and grilled cheese or make cold veggie-loaded wraps—no stovetop or oven necessary.


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