Manners for Kids by Thanksgiving in 5 Simple Steps

Don't let your Thanksgiving be a Griswold Thanksgiving!
What will my mother-in-law complain about this year?

I dread the fight about why we don't have chicken fingers on Thanksgiving.

Why is it always my kid who creates chaos during family get-togethers?
Want parenting help for teaching your kids manners (before the relatives come)?

You can check out Emily Post (she's still got it) for a modern approach to manners. She's always a favorite. But if you need help NOW, I've got some parenting tips for you!

Ground Rules

Just like at home, everyone has rules or expectations for their home. If you have "spirited" children, contact the host and find out what their expectations are. Just by asking they're likely to be more understanding when your children don't follow the rules. Here's a sample: "Aunt Judy, we are excited to visit for Thanksgiving. I'll be bringing my famous green bean casserole..."

TIP: When you are bringing a dish, be sure to bring it heated with a utensil. If you can't, ask the host if they will provide room in the oven to heat it up...there may not be room and you'll need to make other arrangements!

"I also wanted to check in with you about your household rules. The kids are excited to come and we want to be sure we are respectful of your space. What rules should I communicate to them about your home?"

It doesn't have to be that formal but that's a template for the conversation. Make it your own!

Set Expectations

Let the kids know the schedule for the day. This will minimize "Can we go now?" or "When do we eat?" questions. This would be a good time to set limits on tech or say "NO TECH" (Join my NOvember Challenge for help with this) when we visit family.

It's good for kids to be bored sometimes and listen to adults have conversations. That's how they learn and that's what memories are made of! Plus, they can play with cousins or other kids.


If you have younger kids, bring a basket of toys/activities. For older kids, they can bring books, board games, proper shoes, and a ball to throw around outside.


Upon arrival, take a quick glance at the rooms and note any valuables or antiques. Aunt Judy might have an antique chair that you don't want any of the kids sitting in!

Once you identify such items, have a quick meeting with the kids and set down the final rules. This is a good time to ask "What questions do you have?" and "Tell me how you will interrupt if I'm talking to an adult." In this way, the kids can have a quick practice about how to behave.


Now you can enjoy your family and all the delicious food with family. This is where the memories are made! The more relaxed you are, the more fun everyone has.

Join my NOvember Challenge right now. We started but it's not too late! Just click HERE to learn how to say "no" without the guilt!

  • Scared to say no to your kid?
  • Exhausted from trying to please everyone?
  • Ready to relax a little?
Then you want to join this challenge! We're going to give our kids a dose of Vitamin "N" for five days next week! And our kids will be better for it!

ps if you are a mom who says "no" all the time, the NOvember challenge is not for you. But you can contact me and I'll help you say "yes" more often!