12 Ways Kids of All Ages Can Help Clean Up After Thanksgiving Dinner

12 Ways Kids of All Ages Can Help Clean Up After Thanksgiving Dinner

Even a preschooler can pitch in when it’s time to clear the holiday table.

By Debbie Koenig

When the last scrap of turkey has mopped up the last drops of gravy, all you want to do is unbutton your pants, put your feet up, and celebrate another holiday success. But even the simplest Thanksgiving feast leaves a mess in its wake. Lucky you! Then, if you’ve got a gaggle of kids on the guest list, it’s time to put them to work clearing the table. Yes, even the little ones!

This to-do list, broken down by age group, will help you get the whole family involved. You know best what your kids can handle, so consider this a starting point:

With supervision, little kids (2 to 5) can:

  • Collect dirty napkins
  • Gather silverware
  • Sweep under the table
  • Blow out candles and remove unbreakable decorations

Slightly older kids (5 to 10) can also:

  • Retrieve serving bowls
  • Remove dirty plates
  • Scrape waste into the garbage
  • Shake out tablecloth

More from P&G everyday: Holiday Meal Shortcuts: Which Ones Work and Which Ones Don’t?

Ages 10 and up can do any of the above, plus:


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  • Collect used crystal
  • Transfer leftovers to storage containers
  • Rinse dishes and load dishwasher
  • Scrub pots

Which leaves you to:

  • Grab another sliver of pie
  • Marvel at the abilities of children

What did we miss? How do your kids help clear the table?

Debbie Koenig is the author of the cookbook Parents Need to Eat Too. She lives with her family in Brooklyn.

Image ©iStock.com/danielle71

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