Having a Happy and Healthy Thanksgiving


Thanksgiving is a time when we come together with friends, relatives and loved ones – but this year is different. The COVID-19 pandemic continues to present a serious threat to our community, and we know that private gatherings like dinner parties and game nights have the potential to create high-risk environments for transmission of this opportunistic virus. In fact, public health officials have said that these private gatherings are playing a key role in the rise of COVID-19 cases.

The safest way to celebrate Thanksgiving this year is to avoid travel and celebrate with members of your household rather than hosting friends or relatives for a holiday meal. This will lower your risk, according to the Centers for the Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) – and with some additional planning and creativity, you can ensure that your children still have a chance to connect with friends and family, and make special memories during the holiday.

Cooking with your Kids

There’s a lot of excitement associated with the hustle and bustle that creates the wonderful food your kids enjoy on Thanksgiving, and it’s natural for children to be curious and to want to participate in Thanksgiving Day prep. Here are some reminders that can help you make sure your child can help but isn’t in your way – or in harm’s way:

  • Create a “no-kid zone” that is at least 3 feet away from the cooking area.
  • Make sure electrical cords aren’t accessible and don’t present a tripping hazard.
  • Use the back burners of your stove and turn pot handles away from the edge.
  • Avoid carrying or holding your child while cooking on the stove.
  • Use the holiday to teach your child about cooking safety and model safe cooking lessons.

Host a Virtual Thanksgiving Dinner

Share recipes ahead of time and host a virtual dinner over Zoom, Skype, or Facebook – you can even play a game together after enjoying the meal virtually. It’s a great way to stay connected with those you love, even if you can’t be together in person this year. Even if you don’t want to host an entire meal virtually, you can still get together to toast the day and share what you’re thankful for before signing off and attending to your family’s Thanksgiving Day meal.

Make a Thanksgiving craft

Giving kids an outlet for their energy and creativity is a must on any day, not just on holidays. But with Thanksgiving looking different this year, making sure your child still gets to enjoy a fun and special day takes on an extra level of importance. From pumpkin stress balls to paper bag turkeys, there are a lot of great craft ideas that are suitable for toddlers and school-age kids – and can even help teach them about things like gratitude and other Thanksgiving Day tropes.

Talk with your Child about the meaning of Thanksgiving

School curricula about Thanksgiving vary across the country, with some children learning about basic concepts like gratitude, while others take a deeper dive into the history of the holiday. Whatever the case in your child’s district, you can start a conversation with them about what the holiday means to them, how you celebrate in your family, and why this year looks and feels different from other years.