How to talk to your children about celebrating Thanksgiving during the COVID-19 pandemic

November 24, 2020

Family celebrating Thanksgiving dinner at home.

Thanksgiving is one of America’s most cherished holidays. It has always been a time for friends and family to gather together, share food, reminisce about times past, create new memories, and look toward the future. A time when we give thanks for all that we have and share that bounty with others.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Thanksgiving will need to look a little different this year, but it doesn’t need to express less love.

Children may be confused, concerned, or disappointed this Thanksgiving. Here are some tips and language that you can use to explain to your children that we need to keep ourselves and others safe but can still feel connection and express love with others this Thanksgiving.

  • Explain the basics of COVID-19. Give them accurate information. Keep it simple and don’t overwhelm them.
  • Listen to their questions and concerns. Reassure them and make sure they feel safe.
  • Let them know that the safest thing for everyone this Thanksgiving is to stay home with members of their household.
  • Focus on positive things you can do together. Perhaps you can build some new traditions.
  • Do activities together that will connect them to those they miss.
    • Write and illustrate cards and letters to those with whom you can’t gather.
    • Send emails or make posts together on social media to those with whom you can’t gather.
    • Invite them to help in the process of setting up and connecting to others via video streaming or a simple phone call.
    • Work together to make video clips to share with others via email or social media.
    • Following safety guidelines, make or buy treats and drop them off to those who live nearby but with whom you can’t gather.

Please be vigilant about following COVID-19 safety guidelines: stay home as much as possible and don’t gather with those you don’t live with. Anytime that you gather with those you don’t live with, even if they are family members, you may be putting everyone at risk. If you cannot avoid gathering, follow the safety guidelines.

Wear a face covering, keep at least 6 feet distance, stay outdoors, keep the time short, wash or sanitize your hands frequently, and don’t share objects, including food or serving utensils. We hope these tips and strategies will help you and your loved ones have a safe and rewarding Thanksgiving.

Mother puts a face covering on her child.