THANKSGIVING IS a tough holiday for youngsters. Think about it. Just the things that make it a treat for adults -- lots of good food, visiting friends and relatives, the lack of gifts -- don't thrill most youngsters. And often they have to dress up and be on their best behavior for Grandma during a long meal that doesn't offer much of what they really like to eat.
So, here are some suggestions for making the holiday joyful for all. They came to me a long time ago from Frances Alden, who is retired now from the department of early childhood development at Villa Julie College, but they are still very valid:
* Try not to build up childrens' expectations; they will only be let down if the day doesn't turn out as wonderful as you promised.
* Feed the children their regular breakfast and lunch, so they are not starved -- and irritable -- when they get to the feast.
* Plan dinner so that small children can still take the naps they are used to.
* Don't expect youngsters to be as wild about cranberries and sauerkraut as you are. Include something you know they like in the menu --mashed potatoes, perhaps, or a gelatin salad with fruit.
* Plan activities for the children so that the grown-ups can linger at the table. Get an older child to plan a pageant with the younger ones, have a "coloring bee" or rent a special video.
* Don't expect children to be perfect for visitors. You'll enjoy the day more if you let them be themselves.
A new study says most women are adopting healthy nutritional practices and getting exercise during their pregnancies. But, after their babies are born, most mothers revert to their bad old ways, University of Louisville researcher Suzanne Brouse tells Working Mother magazine.
Here's another suggestion: First lady Barbara Bush will be providing after-dinner entertainment, via radio, with "Mrs. Bush's Story Time," a four-hour special of children's stories, celebrity appearances and reading-aloud tips for parents. The Thanksgiving program will be from 6 to 10 p.m. on WBAL Radio 11 (AM 1090). Mrs. Bush will also have a Christmas reading special Dec. 22 from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. And, she will have regular half-hour storytimes for 10 weeks beginning Sunday, Dec. 8.
Child's car recalled
Kransco Power Wheels agreed to recall its children's Power Wheel Porsche automobile because a switch could become stuck in the "on" position, according to the Consumer Product Safety Commission. The battery-operated toy, which sells for $359 to $399, is supposed to start when the child sitting in it presses a foot pedal and stop when the pedal is released. The recalled vehicles are equipped with an 18-volt battery; previous models had 12-volt batteries. The commission said the stronger batteries may cause the switch's contact points to weld together during the initial surge of electricity. If this were to happen, it said, the motor would continue running and the vehicle would not stop. The model number is 87100. Those needing assistance can call Kransco at (800) 348-0751.
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