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Readers Respond: How Do You Make Thanksgiving Special for Your Child?

Responses: 4

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From the article: Dressing for Thanksgiving
Do you have a Thanksgiving tradition with your child that transforms this time of food- and guest- and dress-related stress into precious family moments? Share the little things you do to make Thanksgiving meaningful.

Not adhering to all Traditions

For at least 10 or more, I have allowed my older son to celebrate Thanksgiving without turkey. To parents who get it, it's not a big deal; but to my family it was horrible. Why? So, his issues mean he won't eat turkey--do the pilgrims care? So what if Thanksgiving dinner for him consists of chicken nuggets & BBQ sauce instead of turkey & cranberry sauce? What he is doing is sitting with family, learning the tradition of sharing with loved ones & working on social issues. To me, that is more important than what he actually eats. For my younger son, getting him to sit for 5 minutes and trying to eat is enough reason for me to give thanks--period. It would offend all the "Martha-wannabes" but it is what it is. I have given my children the tradition of accepting them for who they are and making it work with blended family traditions. I have also let them change their clothes to prevent sensory meltdowns. That tradition is for Mom's sanity! Really, what's more important?
—Guest Mama Bear-NOS

The Photo Cube

I have a 5-year-old daughter with Angelman Syndrome. At Thanksgiving, and all holidays, we take lot of photos with my special daughter's cousins, aunts and uncles. That way when the holiday's over, I can place the photos in a cube ($1 at Target) and she can play with it and remember her family. It's such a treasure.
—Guest Angela

The Thanksgiving Tree

On our dining room table we put a wonderful snarly branch. We had a pile of leaves cut out of fall colored paper - whenever someone did something nice for someone else - a person noticed and they added a leaf. No one was to peek what was written - but everyone peeked. It raised the positives and love in our home and the leaves were read aloud on Thanksgiving - the names of the writers remained anonymous but the person who we were thankful for "what ever they did" Even "---- did not get mad at me today!" were allowed. We used this same tree idea for a New Years (snowballs of ideas for the coming year) and Valentines Day (hearts of love)
—Guest Jodee Kulp

Your Child May Surprise You

I just wanted to second your idea of letting kids wear what they want on special holidays like Thanksgiving. One year we were at a clothing store and I told my son (then age 6) he could pick out something to wear on Thanksgiving. He chose a sweatshirt and a bowtie. I was happy he'd picked out anything, even though the sweatshirt was one of those "faded look" things that comes pre-roughed-up around the edges. On Thanksgiving Day, he proudly wore that sweatshirt and bowtie all day! It was a clip-on bowtie, and of course there was no collar to clip it to, so the bowtie just stayed a little crooked all day clipped to the neck of the sweatshirt. Everyone complimented him on how nice he looked. So sweet!
—Guest JoanCelebi

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