I have to admit that it is embarrassing that my family (husband included) still does not know how to set a table, properly that is. I have tried to show them countless times, but to no avail. And no, I do not have toddlers at home. They are all grown and perfectly capable.
They may get the fork and knife and spoon on the correct side of the plate, but it will look like they did it with a blindfold on. Not to worry, we somehow managed anyway to have the food travel from the plates to our mouths, consuming many a dinner at our worn out table.
But in this one area of proper table setting, I relent. I am a dismal failure as a parent and my kids will certainly not be able to launch into the real world without mastering this pivotal life skill.
All kidding aside, I do think setting the table is important, and though we are terrible at it, we do it anyway.
Setting a table helps curtail the fragmented approach to dinner. Simple as it may sound, it gets everyone in the same room at the same time and makes everyone sit down together! The alternative is each person staggers on their own time through the kitchen for their drive-thru food stop. Or, you fall into the trap of being a short order cook, letting everyone eat grab-and-go style on a bar stool, and then you miss the chance to make family happen together – eye to eye, face to face.
Maybe these tips will help.
Practical Tips to Making Dinner an “Event” AND the message it sends to our kids…..
1) Set the table. “There is a place set just for you. You belong here”.
2) Avoid buffet style. “I’m planting myself in one place, removing interruptions and focusing on you”.
3) No one starts eating until we are all seated. “EVERY member of our family is equally important.”
4) No one starts eating until we say the blessing. “We will acknowledge together God’s goodness to us”
5) Put the phones and gadgets up. Turn the TV off. “It is time to be a REAL, not virtual or digital, family!”
6) Set a time or “time window” for dinner. “Our family matters, is important, it is a date and dinner waiting to happen.”
To help teach your young kids how to set the table, print off this nifty “placemat” (pictured above) and maybe with this simple tool you will have better success than I! This tool is one of many provided by IMom.com, new friends of E-Mealz and a great resource to help you keep family first.