Involving Kids of All Ages in Thanksgiving Preparation

Involving Kids of All Ages in Thanksgiving Preparation

As I’ve mentioned before, I tend to make a huge deal out of the holidays. Thanksgiving is no different in our house. I start planning for it months ahead by perusing recipe books and magazines, making notes about favorite recipes from years past, and putting together a plan. One of my favorite parts of Thanksgiving, though, is pulling together everyone in the family to work together toward a common goal – making an amazing and delicious meal.

That means that we involve our kids in Thanksgiving prep – in age-appropriate ways. Here are some tips for involving kids of different ages in this annual holiday.

The Smallest Kids

We’ve always either had an open kitchen or a large enough kitchen to set up a high chair in the kitchen itself near the food prep area. Even though children under 18 months old can’t do a lot of the actual prep work, I still like to include them if they’re old enough to be sitting up in a high chair. It’s fun for them to bang wooden spoons on the high chair tray, play with some homemade playdough, and taste some of the ingredients (chopped up apple, anyone?) It makes it nice, because from the littlest ages, my kids are used to being part of the festivities.


Toddlers (18 months – 3) make great stirrers, and many are capable of helping to help measure and pour ingredients into a mixing bowl. You can also have them tear lettuce for salads. I try to pick one or two recipes that my toddler can be fully involved with helping. I stress the importance of good kitchen hygiene (wash your hands, please), but this helps develop a good sense of self-confidence when that salad they helped with makes it onto the plate. I also like making salad dressing in a shaker bottle and allow the toddler to shake the salad dressing.

It’s also fun to have a couple of projects on hand that toddlers can do to help decorate the Thanksgiving table. The dollar store and Target’s Dollar Spot are great resources for this. Foam stickers are great for this age as they work the fine motor skills. Coloring pages, stickers, and other simple arts and crafts projects will help keep toddlers busy while you’re doing the things they can’t help with.


Preschoolers (3-5) are a fun group. They really want to help, but they often want to help with the things that they can’t quite do. For this age, it’s great to put them to work on things they can do – like putting together sauce ingredients, measuring and adding ingredients to recipes, stirring things, tearing lettuce, cutting anything that can be cut with a butter knife, pushing buttons on appliances, etc. My soon-to-be-five year old loves to help with all of these things, and she does a good job of listening to directions, keeping her hands clean, and being safe.

Good activities include making place cards for guests (tracing names if they’re not yet writing), making crafted decorations, and helping to clean up toys from around the house. Preschoolers will also enjoy helping to set the table (the silverware, napkins, and placemats – leave the crystal and china to older children and/or adults).

For familiar products and produce, preschoolers can begin to help with the Thanksgiving shopping at the store (with supervision). It can be a lot of fun for them to pick out the right apples for the pie and to grab the acorn squash that’s at their reaching level.

School-Age Kids

Here are when things get fun. Once a child can read, he or she can (supervised) put together a dish of his or her own. My oldest has always made the deviled eggs for Thanksgiving and Easter, for as long as I can remember. Let your child choose an easy-to make with minimal help from mom or dad dish, and be in charge of that dish.

School age kids can also help cut and prep ingredients, given that they are tall enough to reach the surface they are cutting on without a stool or sitting on knees on a chair. You can use a kids’ table for this. You just don’t want your child to lose balance and fall backwards with a knife in his or her hands. Pre-teens can help to stir items on the stove – again, with the caveat that they do not need a step or chair to do so. Baking pies is a great activity for this age.

These children can also set the table in its entirety, and help to decorate the tablescape.

As children learn to read, you can assign them to get ingredients at the store that are at their arm level. You can even give older tweens (10, 11, 12) their own list to be responsible for at the store.


I put my teenager in charge of several items every year. By this age, they should know their way around the kitchen, be able to read and modify recipes, and know and understand all basic kitchen chores. Let your teenager choose a few recipes and then be in charge of researching them and adding the ingredients to their own shopping list, and then having them grab their items at the store. You get points for giving them a budget to work with, as this is an important life skill.

Because I have kids with a wide age-discrepancy, my oldest in the past has made his own recipes, helped with other recipes and things like washing dishes between making different things, and supervised younger siblings as they carried out their roles.

Making it a Fun Holiday

The best part of Thanksgiving is the tradition of togetherness that surrounds the holiday. Allowing children to be involved with the prep for any holiday makes for a nice tradition in and of itself. Be sure to allow for extra time if you’re involving small hands – that will help to give you more patience, and make sure the experience is a positive one for everyone.

The Secret to Teaching Children to Cope With Big Feelings

The Secret to Teaching Children to Cope With Big Feelings

Do you know reading stories helps children coping with feelings? Stories play a vital role in developing a child’s imagination.

Using stories you can introduce new ideas into their world. From a realistic story that talks about kids and animals to fantasy stories that talk about other planets, ogres and trolls, children’s learn to visualize it in their own way.

Stories are also useful for teaching more complex ideas, such as the importance of sharing, manners and the passage of time. And what’s so great about learning through stories is that there’s no actual teaching involved at all, they learn from simply reading the story naturally.

Rewriting Authentic Tales to Happy Endings:

Storytelling is one of the best ways to teach compassion to kids. There is no safer way for a child to learn compassion and empathy than through a book. But unfortunately, some children’s books have taken a serious turn in rewriting the authentic tales to happy endings.

There is no more gingerbread boy that gets eaten up by the fox.  Happy or sad whatever the ending may be, it was perfect for the story. That’s why they were classics. Rewriting them and changing the endings kills the interesting aspects of the story.

Books, where the conflicts are always resolved with a happy ending doesn’t reflect with the range of human experience. When we share only the happy ending stories with kids we are setting up our children for false expectations of life.

If stories are all happy or idealized there is no way kids could actually experience the whole range of emotions. Trimming details and changing the ending doesn’t help your kid in any way. It actually does the opposite of hiding them from actual human experience.

At the same time, we have removed all the deadly monsters from the book, we have intensified some of the children’s movies with violent graphics and visuals.

Kids get too much exposure to what they are not supposed to know. So, story reading is again a safe place where you can read the story aloud and you can skip if the details are too intense. It’s their safe haven where they can learn about the world, new ideas and their tough emotions.

Sad Endings Teach Coping with Feelings

Happiness is a great feeling and it’s easy to cope up with. But what about fear or sorrow. Kids should feel all the emotions. No kid can cope up with a bad feeling at the moment he experiences it. Stories with sad endings are one of the safest ways to make your kids experience such emotions and slowly teach them how to cope up with such feelings.

When kids can relate to the story they read they can feel deep emotions. Fiction based on real-life characters can also help kids with their own life experience – it shows them how diverse the world is, how unique the people lives are and that some people’s lives are vastly different to theirs. Stories that contain feelings can help kids understand and accept their own feelings.

It helps them understand that there are other kids that are in similar situations who feel the same way and they are not alone.


Kids see the world in black and white. Reading a sad story with a wicked villain awakens their innate sense of justice where they try to change the situation by helping the needy.  Sad stories can develop their critical thinking by making them analyze the story. Stories that talks about struggle and conflict encourage kids to develop social-emotional skills.

A good story with mixed emotions teaches kids that life can give both beautiful and awful things. It’s OK to feel hurt, it’s OK to feel scary. The more we teach our children about these emotions and feelings when they arise, they can cope up with the real world.

Sad Ending stories where the main character dies might absolutely upset some kids. Children take some time to cope up with the character loss. But it is a great way to connect with your kid. There will be too many “why” questions to understand such loss.

Sometimes it is simply an expression of sorrow. Use this opportunity to teach them that it’s OK to feel sad and show them how to cope up with overwhelming sad feelings like talking about it and hugging the loved one, etc..,

As a parent, you know your child better. So, always know your audience and think ahead before starting a read story. Make sure the story you read is age appropriate, not too scary for your kids and doesn’t have any detailed violent illustrations.


Share Stories That Resonates With A Full Range Of emotions:

We all want our child to be happy in an idealized world where everyone’s a friend. It is so tempting to raise our kids in such a world where all the conflicts are resolved with a happy ending.

But, that is totally unrealistic and its an adult expectation. Kids are always kids and it is our responsibility to let kids experience the full range of emotions and to prepare them to cope up with those feelings when they arrive.

Stories are the safe place to make them experience all those feelings especially the bad ones like sadness and fear. Sharing good stories that fascinate with new ideas, spooks with silly monsters, create wonders with an adventurous hero, elicit giggle with foolish characters and awakens justice with a wicked villain all have a place in child’s world.

Are you willing to take this journey with your kids ? Share this post with your friends. 

How do you Teach kids to Cope with Feelings


 Suja Dinesh Raising World children Sindhuja Kumar is a proud mom and a lifestyle blogger living in Connecticut, USA and origin from Tamilnadu, India. She is happily married and nothing excites her more than being a mom. She blogs to keep herself sane, more or less writing about positive parenting adventures, DIY Craft tutorials & scrumptious recipes that empowers every mom and woman to stay inspired and living an elegant life in a creative way. Check her work @ PassionateMoms.

Teach Your Kids To Accentuate The Positive

Teach Your Kids To Accentuate The Positive

Do you remember the old song written by Johnny Mercer and performed by Bing Crosby?

You’ve got to accentuate the positive
Eliminate the negative
Latch on to the affirmative
Don’t mess with Mister In-Between

You’ve got to spread joy up to the maximum
Bring gloom down to the minimum
Have faith or pandemonium
Liable to walk upon the scene

Maybe Mercer had the right idea. Maybe focusing on the positive would help us be more effective parents, better friends, and happier people overall.

There is a parenting method whereby parents praise good behavior (“I love the way you are sharing with your sister”) rather than focusing just on negative behaviors (“Stop being mean to your sister!”). I’m oversimplifying, but the general idea is that kids act badly to get attention. If acting in positive ways gets more attention, they will engage in more positive behaviors and fewer negative behaviors.

[bctt tweet=”Engaging in positive behavior is encouraged by encouragement on positive actions. Here are ways to help them accentuate the positive in their life. ” username=”contactrwc”]

You can find out more about the positive approach to parenting by clicking on this article of Positive Discipline Tips and another one about Reinforcing Positive Behavior at Home.

How I Apply It

Does it work? In my experience, it does, as much as I am able to apply it. When I remember to focus on my kids’ positive behaviors, they do seem to work harder to get my attention by “showing off” good behavior. The biggest challenge is remembering to make a big deal out of the positive behaviors. It’s so much easier to notice the bad ones, especially when I am tired and overwhelmed (and let’s face it, that is most of the time!). One of my goals this year is to proactively encourage the behaviors I want to see rather than reacting to the behaviors that make me crazy.

As I’ve been thinking about this parenting approach, I’ve started to contemplate how it could work in different areas of life. For instance, what if we applied this philosophy to media coverage? What would happen if we only covered stories in which people engaged in positive, life-affirming behavior?

Immediately, I can think of one drawback. Bad behaviors, like sexual harassment, would continue to occur because no one would alert the public to the problem. Those types of issues would remain secret, and victims would be robbed of their powerful voices.

Knowing that it isn’t feasible to only report the good stuff, let me just indulge in a happy news fantasy. If most of the world’s journalism focused on the great things people around the world do for others, would people be even more likely to do great things? Would world leaders fight harder to achieve world peace and end hunger and violence if those were the only actions journalists covered?

Most importantly, would our children benefit from being presented with positive models of behavior they can emulate rather than adults who indulge in base human instincts? Whenever we read the news, we see hatred, violence, and self-indulgence. As parents, we are presented with a huge opportunity—and mandate, even—to seek out content that uplifts, that affirms life, that provides models of positive ways of interacting.

I encourage all of you to try, for at least a week, to focus on the positive. Talk to your kids about news stories involving people acting in amazing, kind, and life-affirming ways.

And let’s talk about gossip: we all do it, and it has been proven to play an important role in society, reforming bullies and encouraging cooperation. Let’s try something different, though. Instead of talking about people in negative ways, let’s “gossip” about all the good things people do, as in, “Have you seen Aditi’s blog, Raising World Children? Isn’t it amazing how hard she works to help foster tolerance and love?”

Try focusing on the good stuff for a week. Then let me know how it goes. How do you feel when you talk about only life-celebrating news? How do your kids respond to hearing more about positive behaviors?

When talking about positive news, Prof. Tal Ben-Shahar says, “Positive information benefits us emotionally, physically, and mentally. It can contribute in a meaningful way to a happier and healthier life.” We need good news to thrive. Do you feel happier when you take in more positive information?

To help you accentuate the positive, I leave you with some websites that share only the good news.

Simple ways to teach your kids to highlight the positive aspects of life. An important way is to do it yourself. Here is how !

And here are some lists of children’s books that inspire. They may not all be about good things, but they all celebrate the difference a person can make in the world:

50 Inspiring Children’s Books With a Positive Message

8 Book Recommendations for Happy Kids

6 New Picture Books Enjoy Wonder

  Catherine Brown loves to write happy, life-affirming stories about ordinary people doing amazing things. She also writes about parenting and education to help readers learn from experts how to make their lives just a little bit better. Every day, she strives to be a kind and loving friend, partner, and mom…some days are better than others! You can find her at, on Facebook,, and on Twitter, @catwritehappy.

How to Make Your Dreams Come True

How to Make Your Dreams Come True

And there it is!  The day that you have been putting off your entire life, has arrived.  You have done your best to push it down, put everything and everyone else in front of it but it’s always there.

One day, you’re minding your own business and all of sudden, BAM, the message comes!  It may come as a subtle nudge or commanding boom, whatever it is, you know it’s time.

Live Your Dream

Now, they’ve even made a day of it!  That’s right, January 13 was “Make Your Dream Come True” day.

I don’t know when it started.  What I do know is now, two people know about it!  (hint:  You and me!)  Congratulations!  This is huge.  This is the day you begin to change your life!  Quick!  Go get your calendar and add it.  (P.S. Since I don’t know when you are reading this, it doesn’t matter if it is before or after January 13 and it doesn’t matter what year.  Pick YOUR date).

There are no more excuses.  It’s your time.  Oh no!  You may wonder.  Now what?  How do I make my dreams come true?

[bctt tweet=”Before you know it, your dream will call out to you? Are you ready to receive it? Work hard for it ? #motivation #mindset” username=”contactrwc”]


To begin, find a space where you absolutely will not be disturbed. This space will feel peaceful (can be in your home, in a park, parked in your car, anywhere that feels comfortable and safe).

Close your eyes and just breathe.  Allow this moment to be entirely about YOU and YOUR dream. 

Ideally, you will allow yourself anywhere from one minute to 20 minutes to sit quietly with your dream.  Give yourself as much time as you can in this space (and do it daily, whenever possible).  

You’re doing great!

Once your body and mind gets used to the stillness.  Bring your attention to your dream and just sit with it.

Listen. Allow yourself to step into your dream.

As you begin to see yourself in your dream.  Allow your imagination to bring it to life.  What does it look like? What does it feel like?  Can you see yourself there?  How do you see yourself?  What are you wearing?  How does your hair look?  Who else is there?  Begin to create the story in your mind.


In this step, grab your favorite notebook, journal or keyboard and begin to scribe everything you saw in Step 1.  Be as detailed as possible. 

Begin to ask yourself more questions.  Such as: What is the purpose of my dream?  Do I solve problems?  Do I inspire?  Do I build things?  Do I teach?  Do I write? 

Who do I help?  Who will benefit from my dream?  You get the idea.  Take note of all of these answers. 

In Step 1, you began to explore the WHAT of your dream.  You are now expanding on the WHAT of your dream and beginning to look at the WHO of your dream.


Once you have sat with and imagined your dream in Step 1 and then taken the time to write down the What and the Who in Step 2, comes the time to consider, your WHY?

This one is really deep.

It’s not the surface reason of “I want more money”.  “I want more freedom.

It’s the big one.

It is the WHY underneath it all.  When you begin to consider the why underneath your dream, you may have several layers of things you “think” are big enough, but they won’t be.  Keep going.  Think about it.  Sit with it.  Write it.

Keep writing all the reasons WHY your dream is important to you.


When you have done the work for Step 1, moved to Step 2, moved to Step 3, you may be asking “Are we there yet?”.

The answer is:  It depends.

When you look at that extremely determined beautiful plant that has managed to grow through the concrete, you will know that it had a WHY that was so big NOTHING would stop.  It is the WHY that is so big, you keep going when you are ready to quit.  Obstacles no longer stand in your way, because you will find a way around them.

It is the why that says I am determined to make the impossible, possible.

Step 5 – HOW ?

The question that really causes people to get stuck is HOW.  How will I do it?  How do I, etc.  The answer is…it doesn’t matter how.  The how will change.  That is why it is VITAL to get so clear on Step 3 that your life becomes just like the plant in Step 4.  You might ask how I know, because I’m doing it now and the only thing that is impossible is the dream that doesn’t have a big enough WHY.

How To Achieve Your Dreams | Family Goals | Take Time To Create Your Own Happiness | Empower Kids

Tammy Coin is a Mind-Body Wellness Practitioner, Transformational Life & Spiritual Coach, Author, Teacher and Speaker. She holds sacred space & helps you locate the unhealed emotions leftover from Childhood Abuse & Trauma that block the door to your authentic self. She then partners with you, using the pieces of her own life, to empower, motivate and inspire you to fully uncover and step into your Soul Purpose. You can find Tammy Coin on Facebook @IntriguingInsights or @TheDoorsofWellness


Overcome These Very Real Diwali Struggles

Overcome These Very Real Diwali Struggles

This post contain Affiliate Links. The opinions, thoughts and frustrations are of the author alone.

It’s that time of year again. No, not the time for turkey or Christmas trees as much as I love that time of the year as well. It is the time for Diwali! Time for joy abound. Delicacies sweet and sour. Colorful dresses. Family Traditions and Time With Friends.

But with all it’s joys, it is in truth also that time of the year when –

My Family Gets Nervous As I Start Spring Cleaning

Diwali means getting the house in pristine condition. Before Holi and before Diwali are two times when I ruthlessly de-clutter and spare no object the broom. Of course during this course many much needed but never used objects get tossed or donated.  When I start the battle against clutter, the banshee within me rears her head in exhaustion and my family dreads this phase.

Thanks to my husband, I know better than to do it all in one day or week even. So now I prep for this slowly and steadily and remember to breathe, take breaks and know it’s not the end all!

The Festive Decoration Plays Hide and Seek.

We love our Deepavali decor and can’t wait to put it around the house for that warm festive feeling. Except they decide to play hide and seek with me. Every year I can swear I know where I had put them last year but yet again, I have to go on a treasure hunt to find them.

Last year,  I wrote the location in my phone. Easy peasy.

The Tangled Lights Create Havoc

The tangled Diwali/Christmas lights have to untangled. Sigh! My husband dreads finding those little bulbs that come what may will not light up.

We wrap them around a cardboard cut out and keep a lot of little extra bulbs handy. But this year for Diwali, I’m going to surprise my husband with a light organizer ( yes, it’s a thing ! ) that’s pretty cool.

Rangolis Continue To Be My Nemesis

Who doesn’t love beautiful Rangoli designs to adorn their doorway.  But if you are anything like me, and totally uncoordinated when it comes to making intricate designs, you can feel my frustration.

Thank God for Stencils and Sidewalk chalk. Because, why not ?!

I Fret About What to Wear 

What do I wear? I don’t get to go to India very often. With my family in Kuwait and air fare being sky high for God knows what reason,  it is not easy for me to stay totally updated with fashion trends. Come festive season, I get nerves thinking of what I will wear. Specially when I hear of all the beautiful new fashion that’s come in traditional wear from friends.

Luckily, I don’t worry about being “trendy” for more than a few minutes. I wrap myself into the gorgeous saris I have and have blast enjoying the festivities. I even make up my own trend by going Indo-western, that is mixing western wear with Indian accessories.

The Smoke Detectors Cry 

My smoke detectors wail in agony at the Diyas that I make on Dhanteras smoke up the home. It takes me a hour and half to make those beautiful diyas from flour and the detector rejects them in 10 mins.

To that end, this year I bought prelit candles that are just awesome. These are what I will use along with my precious home made diyas. Take that you, smoke detectors you!

We Miss Celebrating With Crackers

It’s sad every year when the HOA sends a circular to not light up any sparklers or firecrackers of any kind because it’s forbidden by our county. I never had the pleasure of bursting crackers when I was in Kuwait so I don’t miss it much but from having lived in India for a couple of years I know how much fun they are to rejoice with. I so wish my kids could have that joy.

So what we do instead?

  • We collect dry leaves, twigs etc and use these to create a bonfire in your back yard.
  • Fill up balloons with glitter or pieces of colored paper. Burst these in the evening for a vibrant ambiance.
  • Kids could even blow up paper bags and burst giving you the cheerful sound of crackers.
  • Did I mention I make Diyas out of wheat flour? The kids have a blast making them.

The Kids Wonder Yet Again Why We Celebrate Diwali 

When I was young I did not understand and even negated the beauty of the mythology of Ramayan. I could not find respect in my heart for a avataar of God who would exile his wife for no fault of her own. But now, over the years I have understood that it is not just a story to glorify God in the incarnation of Ram. It is a way to teach kids real world values.

So, I encourage my kids to ask questions about the story  and try to explain in the simplest form. It is a story where

  • We should not be so hard on ourselves when we make mistakes.
  • That when you do not pay heed to the warnings of those you love, you suffer.
  • That not respecting women, can lead to the downfall of even Kings.
  • That the happiness one feels when a child comes home is priceless!

But that is of course some of my interpretation. Anyone who reads scriptures or mythology derives their own meanings and using them to grow in their own life!

We Miss Our Family Back Home Terribly

This is the biggest frustration of today’s times and living so far from family. A home is not a home without family and as I mentioned the ridiculous air fares make it extremely hard to celebrate this special time together.

How do we deal with it ? Thank God for the age of Video calling and Instant Messaging . Also, we spend a lot of time making cards, decor, food and cleaning to avoid the insane sadness in the pit of our stomachs. Denial has it’s advantages for we get a LOT done and create tonnes of memories in the process.


With all it’s trials and tribulations, Diwali still ends up being one of the most blessed and fun times with friends sharing their time with us. The music, the ambiance of the diyas/candles, the yummy food and the companionship of those we care for more than make up for any woes we need to endure.

Raising World Children Overcome These Very Real Diwali Struggles This Festive Season | Problems | Easy Diwali

  Aditi Wardhan Singh is a mom of two, living it up in Richmond Virginia in USA. Raised in Kuwait, being Indian by birth she has often felt out of place. A computer engineer by profession, she is now a freelance writer and entrepreneur having founded Raising World Children. In her spare time she volunteers for Circle of Peace International and impromptu dance parties with her little one are her ultimate picker upper. She provides tools to open minded parents to empower their children to raise positive, gracious, global thought leaders. She currently writes for the Huffington Post, Thrive Global, Richmondmomsblog, Desh Videsh Magazine and is author in the anthology “When You Are Done Expecting “