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I'd love some advice

rhizo_1 (North AL) zone 7
November 24, 2013

There will be three children plus an infant at our Thanksgivukkuh dinner, their ages ranging from from a little over two to nearly seven.

Pathetically, I haven't given them much thought! No kids of my own and I've never spent much time around them. Clueless! I'm not sure that I have much kid friendly food....I picture them sticking their tongues out at dinner, lol.

I am not going to provide hot dogs and tater tots but will gladly do another veggie, for example. I have no idea if these kids are 'socialized' or picky picky picky.

I'm thinking about asking one of the Moms to come over and make suggestions about childproofing my home so that the kids can roam around freely. That's a good idea, right? We've got some nice pottery pieces and glass art. Yikes! I don't want the parents nor the children to feel like they can't touch anything.

Would it be ok to ask their moms about the food?

Any ideas for some things I can provide for them to enjoy? I'm thinking about visiting a used book store for some books that they can take home. Do kids still like to create pictures with crayons? I thought about getting a small roll of butcher paper and a big box of crayons.

I'm going to have them do the little hand print turkeys on paper plates so that they can be cut out and used in my decorations and center pieces.

Any other ideas?

Comments (24)

  • arkansas girl

    I wouldn't worry that much about kids being's my experience that the parents will pack them a bag of their own favorite stuff to play with. I wouldn't go and buy toys just for them! They know that you do not have kids!

    If the kid is that picky, the parents will also pack some food for them to eat. You'll probably have something they will like. Do not plan your event around little kids!

    I would absolutely put away and far away, breakable stuff!

  • OklaMoni

    When my girls were little EVERY family gathering/meal had mac and cheese on the table. The kind they liked, boxed.

    Don't do crayons, or pens or markers... unless you are not unhappy having some drawings on your walls, floor, table top.

    What ages are the kids?

    Most kids play electronic games now a days, and a board game or puzzle might be a good diversion.


    PS, yes, put breakables away!

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  • Orchidllauraga

    When my kids were little I had a bag with "special" toys in it. These were toys that my kids only got to play with when we were someplace special. Like at a friend's house that didn't have kids, the doctor's office or the dentist. I also stayed on top of what my kids were doing and where they were. I taught them manners at an early age. My DS had a speech delay, but he could say "peas"=please & "tanks"=thanks.I didn't raise picky eaters either. They ate what I put before them or they ate at the next meal.

    Is mac & cheese part of your menu? If so, most kids LOVE mac & cheese.I promise you if the children are picky eaters their moms will bring food that they will eat.

    If you do want to buy them something I would go to the Dollar Tree (or a store like that) and get them each a coloring book and crayons. As far as your art & glass pieces. When they get there show them the pieces & let them touch it with ONE finger. Most kids will not bother things if they get to touch things with one finger....the thrill is gone. I would put up the real pricey stuff though....If they are getting out of hand, gently tell the parents, especially the dads that their kids need some daddytime, as in watch your kid, dude..LOL

  • grandmamary_ga

    I would put away anything that is breakable or precious to you. I would also visit the dollar store to buy coloring books and crayons. I would not go to any trouble with foods for the children either. Most moms will bring foods and toys for their children. My great niece and nephew were picky but they always knew that momma and pop pop(us) would have chocolate milk and toast. My great nephew knew that the cow dishes had m & m's in them and he was allowed to get into them if his mom allowed. Or not. My niece or his Mimi were always watching. Make it a fun day for all. Its not about the food its about family or friends on this special day. Ok maybe a little about the food. Relax have a great time being together.

  • jannie

    Ask the Moms about vegetables the kids like. It may mean some celery stalks and ranch dressing or a can of corn. Baby-proof yourself before they come-put anything breakable AWAY. I once had little fingers break an elephant salt-shaker I had put up on a high-shelf in a bathroom. The tyke must have climbed on the sink to get at it, luckily he/she didn't fall.

  • monica_pa Grieves

    You sound like you expect them not to know how to eat at a table. Are they that unmanageable?
    No paper plates, I just set a plain everyday luncheon size for a little one, and child sized "slverware":.
    Let the patrents pick out what to put on their plates, Probably just mashed potatoes, a bit of meat, and creamed corn and a green veg,

    Pasitc cups ...and don't be surprised if their parents bring a sippy cup with them. Dont worry about the infant.

  • nicole__

    Honestly......videos! Ice age is a good one or Lion King. They can watch the same one over & over and they stay put when they're on. My GF has 4 little boys, my niece was young once....etc......I also do not have children and collect Van Briggle Pottery....etc....I don't put anything away. Their moms "do" let them explore, they did have to figure out how to turn the floor lamp on, how to operate the decora light switches and they opened the boxes in my box collection which have silver dollars in them, foreign money.......:0) It was safe, nothing went into little mouths with mom watching....

    They also sat at the breakfast bar instead of the dinningroom table, so I do get out the extra breakfast bar stools when they're here.

  • suzieque

    I vote for not having special food for the kids. They need to learn how to be a good guest and that includes eating at least a bit of what's put in front of them. If they're hungry, oh well. That's my opinion and I know it's not a popular one.

  • Georgysmom

    So far you've gotten some very good advice. I would definitely put away any valuable breakable items. It will make the moms a lot more comfortable then having to watch the little ones every second (not that they won't anyway.) The moms will bring things to busy the little ones, particularly since they know you don't have any children. Turkey and mashed potatoes will suffice for one meal. I wouldn't worry about the veggies. Although most kids like corn. Relax and enjoy yourself and everyone else will enjoy themselves, too.

  • alisande

    Good of you to think about the kids, Rhizo. About the food, it entirely depends on the child. Not all kids have tastes limited to a few items with questionable nutrition. My kids loved Thanksgiving at all ages; I remember my toddler daughter Gillian sitting at her feeding table, daintily picking up cubes of rutabaga in her fingers and enjoying every morsel.

    I think if a mother knows her child isn't going to like what is served at someone's house, she'll come armed with foods for him.

    I like your idea about used books, and also the drawing/coloring materials. As someone cautioned, do be careful that the crayon art doesn't migrate to other surfaces, though.

    Have fun, and report back!

  • patti43

    Rhizo, it's kind of you to worry about the kids, but I wouldn't if I were you. There will be something they will eat, even the picky ones. My GS was a picky eater and my daughter always brought the blue box mac and cheese. But she never made it and GS ate what was on the table that he liked. They won't starve and if they do, it ain't your fault.

    Yes, put up the good stuff. Besides losing pieces you love, there's broken glass to contend with. Might want to pick up some of those things at the $ store that block doors from opening for your bathroom cabinets. Don't know about you, but I keep my TB cleaner under the sink. Close your BR door and any others you need to.

    Don't worry about the kids. Just relax and make great Thanksgiving memories.

  • adellabedella_usa

    I think if you are serving a traditional turkey dinner, then the food is sufficient.

    I would put away your favorite breakables at the lower levels. It will save hurt feelings later.

    I would not provide crayons and a coloring book. Everyone wants kids to sit down and color or do a puzzle. My kids were given so much of that stuff over the years that they pretty much became immune to it. Weather permitting, you might go outside with them and take them on a scenic walk around your yard or the neighborhood to get some of the fun out.

  • jeaninwa

    my advice? RELAX! LoL

    There is great advice here.

    They will eat what they will eat, and I promise no one will starve.

    The dollar store is a great idea if you want to get them something to play with. Just make sure that whatever it is, is big enough the 2 year old won't be able to choke on it.

  • morz8

    Rhizo, one meal isn't going to make or break nutrition, bet those children are going to love the mashed potatoes, probably the rolls, and if my guest list includes some of the pt sized people I'll usually include a jello with the menu....nothing too fancy or complicated, just colorful and simple. I wouldn't worry about an appealing vegetable. I make the rules at my house and will supersede parents, won't allow food stress at the table ;) No one has to take a serving or eat something they don't want, and no one is denied dessert if they didn't have much of the meal.

    I'd put away anything breakable or that could scratch your furniture if moved around. Usually not necessary but you'll want your own day to be relaxed and fun. My niece came from NC for a visit this summer and I was startled at her 7 yr old, I swear she picked up everything in every room, her 20 mo old little sister was better behaved ;) Lightening fast on those little feet, but better behaved.

    I do keep a small supply of kids things here, Legos, washable markers and color books, books (I love childrens books myself so they appeal to me too). My SIL keeps a basket of little flashlights at her summer home, kids are given their choice of color and sent outside if age appropriate, and they can take them home when they leave, always a hit.

  • chisue

    Very young children are not going to be AT the table very long. Someone needs to play 'nanny' if the adults are to be able to enjoy the meal and one another. Will one of your guests be doing that, or can you hire a helper to mind the kids? The Seven is too young for this duty.

    Put ALL your breakables AWAY. Close and LOCK doors to rooms you do not want disturbed. (Kids are curious, and fast.) Tell them where they CAN play. Is there a place in your house where the youngest children can have their diapers changed? Will anyone be napping?

    If you expect certain behaviors, tell the children the 'house rules' when you welcome them. After that, the parents should be watching.

    If you have some bland 'finger foods' on hand, that should be enough. Parents will probably bring some things they know their children will eat, although I agree that most kids like latke, mashed potatoes, sweets.

  • yayagal

    Is here a place where they can watch a movie? Get some popcorn and munchies and they'll be fine. Unless you hear screaming, most kids love being with others watching a movie. Perhaps you could ask one of the parents what movie do the kids love most.

  • Sue_va

    I have only one suggestion, and some, or many, will not agree with it, but don't knock it if you haven't tried it.

    I learned a long time ago that children want to eat quick and get it over with. So when I had small children included at a group dinner, They ate FIRST, and then were entertained with toys, etc. on their own. Now with every thing available from movies, videos, games and other "stuff," set up whatever you have, or ask one or two parents to bring a favorite. Some kids may even take a nap.

    Trust me, everybody will be happy, happy, happy!


  • lisa_fla

    A couple of Christmas related videos would be nice. It would be something they hadn't seen in a while. I like the butcher paper idea! It may keep them occupied for quite some time. As a visiting kid, I always liked playing with new to me things. I wouldn't worry about foods wither, but it is thoughtful of you. If you are serving appetizers, pigs in blankets are a hit with all ages.

  • oldfixer

    Plenty of great suggestions to keep it simple and a good day for everyone. Has a kid EVER been in your house before?? Why, the food will be so ample & delicious, all bellies will be full. The host will be a friend to all. Your home will be an interesting place. Combine all that, and the kids will want to come back!!!
    Happy Thanksgiving.

  • Lily316

    I agree about putting breakables away. A visit to the dollar store might find interesting stuff to entertain. But putting on a kids video should work even better. Age appropriate, of course.

  • lydia1959

    I like the idea of a video... go to Redbox and get the newest kid's movie. Coloring books and crayons are a good idea too.

    I think the kids will be fine with dinner, but making up a box of mac and cheese wouldn't be a bad idea.

    Hopefully they are well behaved... but I'd put away anything especially valuable to you.

  • Terri_PacNW

    Our school had a Family Movie Night Friday. The student body voted for the movie.
    Their choices were several of the current top family/kid movies...and well over half of the votes went to one movie. Monsters University.
    Btw, I work at an Elementary grades k-5.

    Again like others..don't worry about the meal dishes..I agree with some munchies/movie snacky stuff. Popcorn, pretzels, crackers, cheese sticks, apple wedges.

    No crayons unless they will be supervised.

    Kids of that age love photo books..they don't really care who the pictures are of..they just like to sit and thumb through them.

  • tripletmom83

    I agree that you have gotten some good advice. As the Mom of triplets and grandmother of four I would hope that your little guests parents will be vigilant and watch their own kids. However I know this doesn't always happen, so protect your valuable stuff and keep doors to off-limit rooms shut. (including bathrooms,they are the most dangerous rooms in most houses)
    My concern would be mostly safety, make sure there are no medicine bottles around where they could reach. Although ideally they will stay out of the kitchen, make sure when you are cooking all pan handles are turned inward and not sticking out from the stove. Everyone should get in the habit of doing that anyway.
    If (God forbid) you have chemicals in bottles they shouldn't be in, like cleaning supplies in a soda bottle, get rid of them or lock them in the garage. I remember when a cousin had to call poison control because a niece was actually served Christmas tree preservative by another guest who thought it was 7-up.
    As for food, you shouldn't have to do anything special. Just have plenty of rolls. You may also want to make sure you have at least one dessert that doesn't have nuts, most two year olds can't have them yet. You could always get some pudding cups or fruit cups for them if you think your dessert is too adult.
    Then relax and enjoy your day.

  • rhizo_1 (North AL) zone 7

    I am familiar with the kids and don't expect any of them to be little monsters. I just want to make some nice memories. :-)

    I'm going to stop worrying about the food! (No mac and cheese on the menu!) I'll bet they'll at least taste the root vegetable gratin...lots of cheese to disguise the 'icky ' rutabaga and parsnips, lol.

    I'm planning on them sitting at the tables with everybody else and will
    have a video for them if they get restless. Hadn't thought of that. No, I am not going to hire a baby sitter. Between all of the adults, they will have lots of supervision.

    Thanks a million for easing my mind and for the helpful ideas.

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