Every holiday party has one. Usually it is set up in a dark corner of the room, perhaps hidden by an awkward cabinet or masked by an overstuffed sofa.
Who is this mysterious dinner guest that no one really wants to have at a party?
It is the kids table.
The table that boasts no fine china, the table parents attempt to keep far away from the adult area, the table where children are forced to sit and eat such things as steamed asparagus and carrot raisin salad.
This holiday season take a minute to transform the kids table from feared to favored. A bit of advance planning and a touch of creativity can make the kid’s table the “it” place to be at your next holiday gathering. Below are a few tips and tricks that will allow you to complete such a transformation, creating a kid’s table that will be the center of your next party.
Set out child-sized finger foods. Often times children’s negative behaviors stem from the fact they are hungry. Be sure to stock the kid’s table with an assortment of finger foods suitable to a child’s palate. Grapes cut in half, mini carrot sticks, pretzel rods and crackers are popular with the younger crowds. Provide a fun dip such as hummus or a yogurt-based dip and let kids enjoy dipping and eating before the official meal begins.
Have a craft out to keep hands busy. Over-eager little hands can make social gatherings stressful for parents. Entertain those hands by setting out a craft for children to complete. They can make a hand print turkey or construct Thanksgiving-themed headgear. When setting out a craft be sure that it is simple for little ones to complete with minimal guidance and requires only a few supplies to create.
Provide conversation starters. Although adults can usually find an ample amount of things to discuss around the dinner table, children can struggle to find something to talk about. A lack of conversation usually results in rowdy antics that disrupts the entire meal. Leave out a few conversation starters for older kids to read during the meal. Younger children can be provided with a few pictures of some popular movies or toys that will prompt a discussion with their table peers.
Encourage kids to draw on the table. Cover the kids table with a white paper table cloth, set out a bucket of crayons and encourage young guests to create masterpieces on the table cloth. Draw a few tic tac toe boards and some word games on the table to keep older children engaged in the activity as well.
Establish a “No Adults Rule”. Children appreciate when the tables are turned and adults have rules. Set up a “No Adults at the Kid’s Table” rule. Have a few adults attempt to sit at the kids table, only to be turned away by the children. By making this area a kid-only zone, it encourages children to take pride in their designated area.
The kid’s table does not have to be the dreaded dinner guest this holiday season. No longer does it have a life sentence of being a boring, drab place at festive feasts. Make this the year that your holiday party embraces the kid’s table and makes it the place to be.