Share this Thanksgiving - In More Ways than One

By: Lisa G


Thanksgiving is a wonderful time to connect with family and reflect on all the things we feel grateful for.  But all too often we get caught up in the process and forget what the holiday is all about. It’s true, preparing a big meal can be a whole lot of work, but it doesn’t have to be!  With a little help, it’s also an incredible opportunity to spend time with your kids and to teach them some valuable life lessons at the same time.

Kids love having jobs to do, and let’s face it, having them contributing to the meal is far better than having them run around the house causing chaos or hearing them complain about how bored they are.  Here are a few things they can help with:

  • Having them involved in planning the meal, making the grocery list and food preparation can give kids a real sense of accomplishment.  It can also lend itself well to a little math lesson.  There are great skills to learn when determining how to measure, reading recipes and multiplying ingredients to increase serving sizes.

  • Peeling apples or potatoes, snapping beans, spinning lettuce dry… there are so many ways kids can help prepare the meal!  Even better, when kids see what goes into a dish and are part of that process, they are far likelier to eat it or maybe even try something new.

  • At COOKSMART we always take a ‘Mindful Minute’ before we begin eating; we pause to reflect upon all the hard work that has gone into the meal.  Encourage one of your kids to lead the guests through a moment of gratitude to appreciate all that we have to be thankful for.

  • And it’s not over yet!  Make sure you aren’t left with a HUGE mess to clean up at the end of the night.  Let the little ones know, dessert doesn’t come out until the dining area and kitchen are tidy!  Again, give them jobs; a clearer, a rinser, a washer… many hands make light work which will make the rest of the night so much more enjoyable for everyone.

  • Remember to give thanks yourself!  During dessert, be sure to highlight the contribution each person made to the meal.  Kids are far more likely to help out in the future if they know their hard work hasn’t gone unrecognized.  Who doesn’t like a little pat on the back?!

Topic of Conversation: Ask each person at the table to come up with one way they think they could give back to the community.  For example, at COOKSMART we have partnered with The Compass, a food bank and outreach centre.  During our Afterschool Program, the kids and youth groups prepare various dishes for the Women’s and Men’s groups once a month. 

So learn to share the load this Thanksgiving!  It will not only keep your stress levels at bay, it’s a great opportunity to teach your kids valuable life skills at the same time.