3 Fun Ways to Involve Children in Decorating and Setting the Thanksgiving Table

Can you believe it’s already Thanksgiving? Are the kids ready for a few days off?  This is the time of the year where families come together to celebrate one another and give thanks for what we have. You might be wondering how to get your kids into the spirit of the holiday, be thankful, and work together in a healthy way. Below are three ways to help your children learn positive independent skills while decorating for the holiday.

Craft Projects for the Kidsnsfs-thanksgiving-table-shutterstock_322123175

  1. Handmade Turkey Place Settings

Materials: Scissors, construction paper, and crayons/markers/colored pencils

Procedure: Have your child trace his/her hand on a piece of brown paper.  On the thumb draw the face of a turkey. In the palm of the hand, write the person’s name who will be sitting at the table.  On the other four fingers (the feathers) write four positive things about that person.  Cut out the handmade turkey and place it on the table where that person will be sitting. It will be a nice surprise for your family and friends!

  1. Painted Tablecloth

Materials: Paint (orange, red, brown, yellow, green), markers, paper plates, white tablecloth (easily found at the dollar store), and leaves (from outside)

Procedure:  Have your child pick out four leaves from the front yard. (There are always a ton in the yard around this time of the year). Place the the white tablecloth down on the table. Use the paper plates to pour the different color paint on each plate.  Dip the leaves in the paint and onto the cloth. Repeat with the different colored paint and the different leaves to make a colorful cloth. Lastly, have your child dip their hands in the brown paint to make hand turkeys. This table cloth can be used as an unique cloth for the appetizer, dessert, or kids table.

  1. Turkey Napkin Rings

Materials: Construction paper, wiggle eyes, scissors, markers/crayons/colored pencils, glue, empty paper towel tube (cut in about 1 and 1/2 inches)

Procedure: Have your child cut out a circle for the head of the Turkey on brown construction paper ( it should be half the size of the paper towel ring). Glue the wiggle eyes on the circle and draw (or cut on yellow construction paper) the beak. Glue the head onto the ring.  While that is drying, cut out different colored feathers on the construction paper. Glue them on the inside of the ring behind the turkey head. When it is finished, slide the napkin into the ring and put it on the plate. It is a festive way to add a personal touch!

Remember to be enthusiastic and proud of your child’s work. This helps encourage positive self-esteem and independent skills. Remind your kids that things don’t need to be perfect, but they just need to have fun!


Sibling Rivalry – How to Maintain the Peace

Sibling Rivalry: Common and Normal?

Does it ever feel like your kids just CANNOT get along?

Sibling Rivalry

Sibling rivalry is common in ALL families with more than one child and happens at every age.  While it may be comforting to know that sibling rivalry is typical,  it certainly doesn’t make it any easier to manage.  Instead of getting caught in the middle of their squabbles, learn ways to reduce their rivalry before it begins with these simple steps!

Ditch the comparisons and promote uniqueness.

Each kid is different and has different strengths and skill sets.  Embrace them!  While one of your kids may be athletically talented, your other kid may be gifted in math. or the arts.  Recognizing their individual strengths and encouraging them to follow their passions boosts self-esteem and reduces the need to be “better” than their siblings.

When you foster unique strengths and talents, you allow your kids to grow and succeed in their strongest areas. This helps children strive to achieve their own individual goals, while limiting the need to compare one child to their sibling.

Spend quality time with each of your kids.  

Kids often fight to gain the attention of their parents.  With a house full of siblings, it is easy to feel “lost in the shuffle” of the busy routines and activities.  This lends way to attention-seeking behaviors, both positive and negative.  Remember, even negative attention is better than no attention at all.

Take 15-20 minutes each day to spend quality time with each of your kids. Whether it’s reading a book together or playing a game of catch, your kids will feel loved and will learn that they do not need to fight to get your attention.

Take a step back.  

Don’t jump in to save the day!  When you hear a fight break out between your kids, give them a chance to settle things on their own.  Resolving conflict is an important life skill. Whenever possible, keep yourself busy with something else while they attempt to come to an agreement.  This will give them an opportunity for valuable learning,  while simultaneously removing the attention they may be seeking from fighting.

Demonstrate positive problem-solving skills.  

When your kids are unable to resolve the conflict on their own and the disagreement escalates, it’s time to step in.  Give each child a few minutes to cool down. Then, provide them with helpful strategies, such deep breathing, counting to 10, or going to their room to lie down with a book or their favorite stuffed animal.  When they are calm and ready to talk, listen to each of them one at a time and encourage the use of “I” statements, rather than blaming the sibling with “You did _________” statements. Using I statements encourages them to tell their version of the story from their point of view.  They can’t shift the blame onto their sibling and it promotes accountability for their actions.  Then, without taking sides, ask your kids to come up with solutions and compromises to their problem.  If needed, include a few solutions of your own and help them come to an agreement that works for everyone.

You may not be able to eliminate the rivalry permanently, but by following these simple guidelines you can be sure to reduce its frequency for a more peaceful home environment.



Family Vacation: 3 Activities to Please All Kids/Teens

Family Vacation: What Will We Do?

Your vacation is booked, bags are packed, and everyone is excited about their family vacation!  You arrive at your destination, and no one can agree on anything to do. While family vacations are an exciting time, it can also lead to an increase in frustration and disagreements. This makes vacations stressful on everyone. Here are a few ideas that will provide quality family time together and ongoing laughter for all.

  1. Family Game Night

    Whether it’s a rainy day and outdoor activities are limited, or the family is beat from engaging in non-stop vacation fun, a game night is never a bad idea. Games like Uno, Apples to Apples, Would You Rather?, Charades, and playing with a simple deck of cards, work well. Games help families have fun together, create lifelong memories, and strengthen family relationships.

  2. Family Talent Show

    Showcase your talents in a family talent show! Surprise family members with a hidden talent that they would never expect from you, or put together a group lip sync act. Discuss this idea on the first day, and the talent show will be performed on the final night of the trip. This will give family members time to practice and bond together every day leading up to the big show! Let the little ones be involved in planning, and maybe even have them create rewards to give at the end (i.e. most creative, funniest, etc…). Make it fun! Get creative with props and sound effects. Record it, so the family can watch and laugh together for many years to come!

  3. Family Movie Night 

    Decide on a few movies prior to the trip to avoid the back and forth, “I don’t wanna watch…but we ALWAYS…NOT AGAIN!!” Movie night is a great way for families to wind down and relax at the end of a long day after engaging in vacation adventures. Make some popcorn, have the little ones build a fort, get lots of blankets and pillows, and just relax!

Quality over Quantity!

A family vacation is a special time together that allows everyone the ability to recharge, connect, and to take your mind off of the daily routine. Plan ahead and don’t overbook the day. Focus on enjoying the quality time together rather than non-stop activities all day long.

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