Like many people, Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays. It’s a time when we disconnect from our busy lives, reconnect with friends and family we may not see as often as we’d like, and share delicious meals. Thanksgiving is about pilgrims and history — and turkey. It’s a wonderful time to plan meals and cook, read about the holiday, create crafts, and, most importantly, it’s a great day to give thanks.
Thanksgiving reminds me and my family to be grateful for each other and our blessings. While we should make time each day to be grateful, we’re often stressed and distracted. So, Thanksgiving is the perfect day to do so. One tradition many families enjoy is to go around the table and have each person say one thing they’re grateful for.
There are also numerous Thanksgiving books available on everything from the history of the holiday to gratitude. Here are just a few:
- For ages 2 years and up: The First Thanksgiving by Kathryn Lynn Davis. This lift-the-flap book tells the story of the first Thanksgiving, from the Pilgrims sailing to America to their feast with the Native Americans.
- For ages 3 to 5 years: Thanksgiving Is for Giving Thanks by Margaret Sutherland. This book is a celebration of how Thanksgiving brings family and friends together.
- Ages 4 to 8 years: Thanks for Thanksgiving by Julie Markes. This story introduces children to the importance of gratitude and giving thanks. The last page of the book includes space for children to write down what they are thankful for, making it a wonderful keepsake.
- Ages 6 to 8 years: Pilgrims Of Plymouth by Susan E. Goodman. This picture book takes young readers back in time to see what it was like to be a Pilgrim child in 17th century Massachusetts.
It’s also a super time to make arts and crafts around the holiday. One fun craft that makes an adorable dinner table decoration (and kids love) is the soup can turkey. All you need is a soup can, brown and colored construction paper, googley eyes, a scissor and glue – and you’ve started a holiday tradition. Here’s how to make a soup can turkey:
- Remove the label from a soup can and trace it onto brown paper for the body.
- Trace two circles from the can onto the paper, and cut them out.
- Add a neck and head to the top of one the circles.
- Cut out feathers, a beak, feet, and a gobbler from colorful construction paper. Paste everything onto the can, including the googly eyes, and that’s it.
Thanksgiving and Nutrition
As for nutrition, don’t let your child get too hungry before the big holiday meal so they won’t be tempted to overeat. Keep them on a regular feeding schedule and always include foods in the holiday meal that are fresh, unprocessed, nutritious — and some that your child is familiar with.
Thanksgiving and A Sleep Schedule
With the welcome changes this holiday brings to everyone’s schedules, we have to accept that our child’s regular sleep schedule may be a bit off. It’s okay to bend the rules a little, but be sure to return to aregular sleeping schedule as quickly as possible.
If you have a little one who still naps, and you’re traveling or having guests, their regular nap schedule may have to take a break. As long as you are consistent with your little one’s nap schedule 80% of the time, you should not fret if your baby misses an occasional nap if the environment isn’t conducive to napping. Here are some guidelines:
- If you’re traveling, and your baby falls asleep on the way home and wakes up refreshed when you get home, wait before putting him down for the night. Newborns won’t last very long—perhaps an hour; with babies 1 to 4 months of age, wait 1 to 1.5 hours before putting them down; with little ones 5 to 12 months of age, wait 2 to 2.5 hours; if your baby is over 12 months old, wait around 3 hours before putting them to bed.
- If you’re traveling and your child doesn’t fall asleep on the way home, put them to bed earlier, in some cases as early as 5:30 if your baby is over 12 months of age.
Remember, you should always go through your regular bedtime routine when your child is awake. Then get them back on their normal sleep schedule and routine over the next few days.
Whether you’re traveling to see friends or family this Thanksgiving or welcoming loved ones into your home, I wish you many blessings of love and gratitude.