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Holiday Dinner with Children

Posted on 12-02-2016

It's hard to believe the holidays are coming up so soon! Families all across the nation are preparing for the fun, food, and fellowship that comes this time each year. If your gathering includes infants, toddlers, and preschool children, then you will likely have a special section or table reserved just for them. However, expecting children to sit quietly for the entire duration of the holiday feasts is like telling a tornado to stay put! With all the different personalities and ages around the table, it’s no surprise it can be a challenge. The good news is that with a little creativity and flexibility, everyone can enjoy a nice meal, and mom may even be able to eat her food while it’s still warm—imagine!

Set clear expectations. First of all, if your child is old enough to understand your instructions, explain how the dinner will work. Many children get restless because they don’t know when the end is in sight. Saying something like, “Mommy and daddy will be eating for the next hour, but after we’re finished we can go back outside together,” will make that hour feel less like an eternity. This doesn’t necessarily guarantee a whine-free experience, but it can help! Clear expectations are a must when communicating with young children.

Incorporate their interests. Once you have established the structure of the dinner, be sure to have some fun activities at the kids’ table to occupy young minds. Know your audience—are you entertaining preschool children? Toddlers? What are their interests? Sports? Disney movies? You don’t need to go overboard, but having some stickers or coloring sheets with favorite characters at the table are sure to be a big hit!

Use simple décor. One of the best options when setting a table for children is to use a paper tablecloth and provide crayons for some fun spontaneous doodling. Paper or plastic utensils and place settings will save everyone from unnecessary headaches as well.

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