Everyone enjoys a classy, adult holiday dinner party….except for the kids. This year affords a great opportunity for beginning new, exciting dinner table traditions for the children.
The Aitken Home Team suggests six tips for incorporating children into your classy adult feast without suffering unnecessary temper tantrums that would otherwise be born out of boredom.
1. Create an enchanting kids’ table!
Create a magical space for children by decorating a child-friendly kids’ table. Incorporate items that are sure to keep the children busy such as using a lego table rather than a card table. An ottoman, poufs, and footstools could be used in place of small, child-size plastic chairs if necessary and large books or pillows can be used in place of booster seats.
2. Stylish AND shatterproof!
It is possible to use disposable serving dishes such as foil pans, plastic serving platters, and plastic utensils without looking cheap and boring. Bamboo dishes are great for children and holiday treats such as candy canes or peppermints paired with glitter confetti can be a fun, inexpensive way to spice up an otherwise mundane-looking table. Bright-colored placemats or tablecloths can also be a source of pizzazz when matched with patterned napkins. This is a great way to keep the cleanup process simple and fun for the kids.
3. Fun with lids!
Most kids LOVE swirly of “bendy” straws. Utilize cups or jars with ready-made holes at your kids’ table and get rid of the usual plastic cups, which are normally unstable, to begin with, and incorporate colorful, plastic tumblers. Who doesn’t love swirly straws? Offer them at the kids’ table to poke into cups or jars with a ready-made hole in the lid. And nix paper cups (they tend to topple over) in favor of colorful plastic tumblers. Decorate a cooler with holiday stickers to keep on the floor next to the kids’ table in order to keep their drinks cold. A festive towel could be used to catch the cooler drips.
4. Keep them busy!
A leisurely, festive feast can go on for a couple of hours and small, idle hands could be problematic. Keep the kids busy and roll out some butcher block paper and offer them crayons, colored pencils, or washable markers in festive cups. Online printable coloring sheets can easily be found using google. You could print several to tie together using a hole punch and brightly colored string or ribbon. Stickers, stencils, and play-doh are also great sources of entertainment. Consider a coloring contest or play-doh Christmas tree sculpting contest. The bright colors and competition are sure to be a big hit with the littles.
5. Delectable Focal Pieces
Most children have little to no interest in table centerpieces and such decor can create prime opportunities for spills and breaks. An edible centerpiece, on the other hand, could work! Consider a foam Christmas tree centerpiece that has been poked with suckers or glued with small candies. Place cards can be made using candy canes and card stock or pine cones. Remember: a feast for the eyes is most important for kids when paired with busy activities. Color, color, color is key when creating a festive table to appeal to children. Don’t forget the chocolate Santas!
6. The kids’ buffet
Serving the kids first and quickly will avoid a myriad of meltdowns. Create two separate buffets with two lines for each buffet. This will allow the children to move quickly and create a smooth traffic flow. Once again, be creative! Utilize items such as a red wagon to hold deserts or a small, plastic swimming pool for colder items such as jello salad and add ice surrounding the dishes in order to keep them chilled. Have fun and incorporate items that you would not normally use in order to pique the interest and curiosity of the children.