I love hosting.
I’m not sure why since I do typically get stressed out at some point when something inevitably goes array leaving Mike or the nearest sane adult to pick up the pieces of my frazzled mental state and calm me down.
Where was I going with this?
Oh yeah… so with Halloween tomorrow I think it’s safe to say that the holiday season is officially upon us and with it comes a copious amount of dinner parties and family gatherings. Over the years I’ve learned that everyone at your big dinner will be much happier if the kids are having a great time. You know the saying, “happy wife, happy life“? Well, “happy brood, happy mood” is maybe even more true.
Today I wanted to share with you some simple tips if you find yourself hosting a hoard of children this year. Although I’m focusing on Thanksgiving since that’s our next big holiday, these ideas really apply to any meal or function where young ones will be in attendance.
consider your crowd
Are you going to have a separate kids table or have everyone sit together? There are defiantly pros and cons to each but the first thing to think about is the age range of kids. If you have all younger kids that will need assistance throughout the meal then it’s probably best if they’re right there with you. However, if they’re older then it can be a nice break to have them sit at their own table.
If you are having your own kids table then have some fun and make it as kid-friendly as possible! Using festive and disposable dinnerware means that cleanup is easier and you won’t have to worry about things breaking mid-meal. Even a disposable tablecloth can make dinner a lot more fun if you choose one that can double as a coloring mat!
In the hours leading up to your big meal what are your plans for keeping your little ones entertained and your house intact and presentable for visitors? I mean, other than just yelling at them every two minutes? No, just me?? If your kids are old enough consider having them help you in the kitchen, in my experience little ones love to help stir or set the table. If your kids are younger then have them prep their very own holiday meal in their play kitchen, maybe sporting some mommy and me (or doll and me) matching aprons?
Another thing we love to do is watch holiday movies, the Charlie Brown holiday specials are one of our favorites. Put out some fun holiday crafts and have them stay occupied while feeling festive. Holiday themed books and games are always fun too, especially when they have friends to join in on the fun!
I don’t know about you but one of the things that drives me nuts about dinnertime is when my kids finish their food at the speed of light and the ask–“can we have dessert now?”–when we’ve barely started on our entrees. No fears though, because I have a couple of tricks to combat this mealtime dilemma.
One thing you can do is simply let your kids get up and go play in another room, then call them when all the adults are also ready for dessert. I find this really works the best when they have friends to play with, as they’re much more apt to go occupy themselves in another room if they have friends to entertain. This is another good time to pull out some fun holiday crafts or games.
Another thing I like to do is try and keep them busy at the table as long as possible. This could include coloring on paper placemats or disposable tablecloths (as mentioned above), or even just placing ledger size pieces of blank paper under their table setting as a simple placemat that they can doodle on to their hearts content.