Sanity Saving Tips to Keeping Kids Well Behaved on Thanksgiving Day

These Thanksgiving etiquette tips will make for a pleasant dinner the whole family will enjoy
Thanksgiving Etiquette

Make sure the big meal goes smoothly for all with these kid-friendly etiquette tips.


Ask any parent and they’ll probably admit that getting an invitation to any dinner or hosting a family get-together always stirs up a little bit of anxiety. Parents don’t just stress about things not getting done before the big meal; bringing the kids along means worrying about behavior and table manners. It isn’t that parents don’t love them being there. They do! But even if parents are confident that they have raised well-mannered children, there is always the push and pull between keeping an eye on the kids and enjoying the festivities yourself. And then there’s the simple fact every parent has learned the hard way: that even the best kids hit their limits when a meal drags on too long or the dinner options are not among their favorites.

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A change in routine can bring out the crankiness in even the best kid, which is especially true on a holiday like Thanksgiving where the all-day preparation and lengthy celebration can get a little tiresome. If your idea of a good time is running around with your cousins or playing with that special toy you brought, a long slow meal may be challenging. That’s why preparing your little one for Thanksgiving Day will help them stay their sweet selves throughout the day. It isn’t just about keeping them occupied during this day-long celebration, though that’s a good place to start; it is about keeping them engaged and informed so they feel like an active part of the meal.

Good table manners are only part of the equation when it comes to keeping your kids cool, calm, and collected at Thanksgiving dinner. Table strategy and advance preparation can make a big difference, too. Our simple etiquette tips will help make sure your kids act show their shiny best selves throughout Thanksgiving Day. 

Don't Forget the Fun

Whether you are at home or visiting loved ones for Thanksgiving, it is helpful to have familiar toys, games, or activities planned so kids don't get bored. Keeping them occupied will keep them less pouty, making for a far more pleasant kid. 

Feed Them Before Dinner


Most young children have a narrow window for meal times. If they miss it, you’re almost guaranteed to get a cranky kid due to lack of food. So making them wait until the meal officially begins could result in some less than desirable behavior, especially if they’re under 4 years old. Before you travel to a relative's house or before guests arrive at your home, make sure that they’ve had something to eat so they are cheery for company.