It is never too early to teach kids the proper way to set the table for dinner.
We have been teaching our children a number of important life skills over the past several years. Since eating is one of our kids’ all-time favorite activities, we thought it was important to teach the proper way to set the table for a meal.
Try these 5 simple steps with your kids and let us know if they become table-setting helpers too!
To help kids practice, we recommend starting with supplies for one table setting so kids can begin by learning how to set their own place for dinner.
With just a little bit of practice they should be able to set the complete table using just 5 simple steps.
- 1 dinner plate
- 1 bread plate
- 1 drinking cup
- 1 napkin
- 1 fork
- 1 spoon
- 1 table knife
Take a few minutes to show each piece of tableware to your child and make sure they know the proper name for each item.
Have your child sit or stand by the dinner table so they can place the pieces in the correct spot for their own table setting.
Begin by setting the pieces to the side. Pick up and hand each item to your child as you describe the 5 steps. During each step your child will place the appropriate item in the correct location on the table.
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Set the Table in 5 Simple Steps
#1 Dinner Plate
Place the big plate in the middle, directly in front of you.
#2 Bread Plate and Drinking Cup
Place 2 items beside the plate.
For this step you will place 2 items on the table, one on each side of the dinner plate. Ask your child to put both of their hands in front of them and then join the tips of their index fingers and thumbs together on each hand to make circles. Put their remaining fingers together and point them straight up.
Ask you child – “Which lower case letters do your fingers make?”
The left hand looks like a lower case b. Bread plate starts with a “b” so it will be placed to the top left of the dinner plate.
The right hand looks like a lower case d. Drinking cup starts with a “d” s it will be placed to the top right of the dinner plate.
The napkin will be located in 3 different places.
Before the meal is served the clean napkin can be placed on top or to the right of the dinner plate.
During the meal the napkin should be placed neatly on your lap.
After the meal the napkin should be folded and placed to the left of your dinner plate.
Place the fork on the left side of the dinner plate.
Ask your child – “How many letters are in the word fork? How many letters in the word left?” There are 4 letters in the word F-O-R-K and 4 letters in the word L-E-F-T. Therefore, the fork should be placed to the left of the dinner plate.
#5 Spoon and Knife
Place the spoon and knife on the right side of the dinner plate.
Ask your child – “How many letters are in the word spoon? How many letters in the word knife? How many letters in the word right?” There are 5 letters in the words S-P-O-O-N, K-N-I-F-E, and R-I-G-H-T. Therefore, the spoon and knife should be placed to the right of the dinner plate.
After you child learns these 5 simple steps he/she should be able to set the table for your next meal!
If you are looking for even more fun tips for teaching table etiquette to your children, be sure to check out Megan’s article at Free Homeschool Deals about 10 Table Manners Every Middle Schooler Should Know.
You can also check out our favorite Etiquette Curriculum from The Etiquette Factory.
They offer fun and easy to use etiquette curriculum for kids of all ages:
- Etiquette for Beginners – preschool to elementary ages
- Etiquette Intermediate – elementary to middle school ages
- Etiquette Masters – high school ages
Don’t forget that we’re talking about Celebrating Thanksgiving with Teens this week. We’ve already shared ideas to help get kids cooking and decorating this holiday season, so if you haven’t read those, make sure to check them out.