How to Survive Thanksgiving Dinner with a Toddler


Thanksgiving is a challenge of its own, between coordinating travel, preparing food, and having family over.

Having a toddler in the mix could mean the final ingredient in a recipe for disaster.

Fortunately, there are a few ways you can help you and your little one make the most out of the holidays, without causing any chaos or destruction.

How to survive thanksgiving dinner with a toddler. Parenting tips and tricks | Parenting tips for new moms | parenting ideas | Parenting advice. #parenting101 #toddlertips #habitatformom

Ditch the Kids’ Table

It’s common to stick all the kids at one table away from the rest, but if you really want to get through Thanksgiving without any trouble from your toddler, it might be time to break the tradition.

Sitting your toddler at a kids’ table might seem convenient for you, but it’ll be harder to keep an eye on them, especially with friends and family there to distract you.

Having your tot close by means no sneaking off into trouble, and significantly less food on the floor, too.

Bring Their Fav Foods

Your little one might be a perfect little angel, up until it’s time to eat.

One of the biggest mistakes parents makes every year is not taking their tot’s food preferences into account!

Sitting at dinner for a long period of time is one thing, but sitting there with nothing to eat is a guaranteed cause for disaster.

One of the best tips on how to survive Thanksgiving dinner with a toddler is easy as sneaking some chicken nuggets or other hit foods onto their plate.

Sure, it’s not tradition, but no one will mind!

Make it Fun

Toddlers are set onto routines, and a long dinner might be something they’re unaccustomed to.

An easy way to combat boredom (and any impending meltdowns) is to bring along an activity for the table. Not only does this help your little one bond with their cousins, but can even help get them in the holiday spirit.

Here are some popular ideas that other moms have had success with:

  • Making hand turkeys
  • pilgrims
  • coloring pages
  • making turkey ornaments (if you’re the kind to put your tree up early)

Not only will it keep all the kids quiet and getting along, but their handicrafts will make a great surprise for that special person or grandparent.

Bring Them Along

Big mistake parents make in learning how to survive Thanksgiving dinner with a toddler is constantly trying to keep them out of the kitchen or dining room.

Toddlers need attention 24/7 it seems, so trying to keep them out of sight will only increase your chances of them getting into trouble or having a meltdown for attention.

Instead of shooing them out of the kitchen, try giving them a small task to do. Keeping them busy will help them feel a part of what’s going on, without the need to meltdown.

“Children Should be Seen, and Not Heard”

Thanksgiving is definitely one of the more chaotic holidays, with all of the work it involves.

The last thing anybody wants is a screaming toddler at the dinner they worked so hard to prepare for.

While it may seem like you have to work against your tot at all times to keep them from getting into trouble, it’s actually just as important to work with them too.

Learning how to survive Thanksgiving dinner with a toddler means knowing your toddler’s needs and wants, and keeping them comfortable in the midst of the holiday commotion.

Jennifer LoVerde

Hey there! Jennifer here, and I run this website. I am a mommy to one amazing little boy + Childcare and development professional (10+ yrs). I created this website to provide useful information about pregnancy and newborn care, & inspire you to live your best mom life!

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