1. Clean and organize the living room
Your kids can get out the feather dusters and vacuum cleaner to clean and straighten the living room. They'll need to gather up any toys and put them away, throw away old newspapers, organize the coffee table and magazines and plump up the sofa cushions and pillows. Older children can handle the vacuum cleaner, but smaller children might be able to operate a hand-held vacuum for getting up dirt in crevices and around corners. If your guests are allergic to pets, then vacuuming will help to lessen the amount of pet hair in the house.
2. Help with the meal prep
Depending on their age, you can ask your children to help with preparing the meal by shucking corn, peeling potatoes, cutting up vegetables or getting the bread or pie dough ready. Older children can be tasked with cutting vegetables, while younger children can help scrub vegetables or snap the ends off of green beans. Let them knead the dough you need for baking, or give them cookie cutters to cut out holiday shapes for the cookies. If the cookies are already baked, they can help you to decorate them with frosting, sprinkles, and candies.
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3. Greet your guests
When your family and friends begin to arrive, your children can help by greeting them at the door, taking their coats and showing them to the living room. They can let your guests know where to place cards or gifts as well. You might need to make finishing touches on your meal preparations, so letting your kids be in charge of getting the guests situated can be a big help for you. They should let you know when guests arrive, though, so that you can also greet the guests as hostess.
4. Take care of the family pet
Your children can take the dog for a walk or play with him in the yard so that he expends energy before guests arrive. For your guests who might be allergic to pets, your children could bathe and brush the animals, or prepare the room where the animals will be kept until after the guests leave. The room for the animals needs to be comfortable and include food, water and a litter box, if necessary. Your children should also check in on the animals in case any of them need to be let outside to relieve themselves.
5. Set the table
They can help you to put the tablecloth on the table, or set the plates, bowls, glasses and silverware where they need to go. You can show them how you want it to look, or provide a drawing that they can use as a guide. Children can be shown how to fold the napkins and where to place the flowers and bread baskets. They can also fill the water glasses before the guests arrive, or polish some silverware just to make sure they shine.
Or, if you want to keep them occupied and decorate the table at the same time, task your children with making these adorable acorn figures: