Whether you love or hate you in-laws Thanksgiving at their house with children is generally a stressful experience. You have to sit and wonder, will they comment on how dry gramma’s turkey is? Will they fling mashed potatoes at their great aunt? These are just a few potential occurrences among the endless list of possible holiday mishaps that are born of the innocence of children. However, if you plan ahead a bit and take some preemptive measures dinner with the in-laws can be a bit less hazardous.
Tips to prepare for Thanksgiving dinner at the in-laws with kids:
The first step to having a less stressful holiday visit to the in-laws is to know what to expect. A trial run is recommended. You could either try to have an early Thanksgiving dinner at home, or venture to a close friend or relatives house that isn’t going to be upset with a little child misbehavior. This gives you an idea of what it is you’re up against. You may find your children don’t behave anything like what you expected and then they may do exactly as you suspected. Either way knowledge is power.
Next, formulate methods to counter these behaviors or others you are concerned about. For instance a week of fun educational activities centering on manners may be beneficial. Educating your children about things they may not expect can also side step some major disasters. For example if your sister has fake teeth and you worry your children may be surprised by this and embarrass her, let them know ahead of time and explain. You may even offer a reward system for good behavior. You could make a chart of your child’s bad habits and give a sticker every day your child successfully abstains from this habit.
Tips to survive during Thanksgiving dinner at the in-laws with kids:
At Thanksgiving dinner watch closely for what could be trouble. You know your children better than anyone and can guess when their up to no good or fixing to make an accidental mistake. You may even consider warning your in-laws about a habit your child hasn’t quite bested. For example, say you have a toddler that likes to strip. You could bring up this habit and that you are working on it earlier on. Not necessarily in warning form, but simply as a fact of conversation so that if this action takes place there’s less surprise and that you have addressed and are working on it is already known.
Take comments about your children, you’re parenting, or even yourself in stride. While it’s okay to disagree and even debate avoid becoming angry. There’s no need to ruin the entire family’s meal over one individuals lack of tact. Often simply being above the comment and ignoring it or making a quick joke is the best course of action.
Tips for damage control after Thanksgiving dinner at the in-laws with kids:
Should some not-so-great behavior happen remember that everyone realizes kids are kids. Don’t beat yourself up about. Simply excuse the behavior and make an effort to work on that area for the next holiday gathering. Christmas is just a few weeks away.
You may also find helpful in your parental quest for less stress:
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