Don't Wish Away the Baby Years
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Set the Table

Basic Table Setting from Emily Post.

With society being more casual, some feel that setting the table is only one more chore that doesn't need to be done, especially when you have little ones. I will tell you time and again, your children learn from what you do, not what you teach. Habits form early, so teach your children things before they need it. Eating at a set table should be one of those habits.

Once while on vacation, we came into a nice restaurant for lunch. Upon entering and seeing the white tablecloths, we realized that we were very underdressed. We were not sure if the restaurant was family friendly with such small tables, but they placed us at a round table to fit five. Our children were 3, 6 and 9 at the time. After being seated, we noticed our three year old surveying the set table. Round tables can be harder to figure out which utensils are yours. She began realigning her items in front of her. She knew which was her bread plate, water glass and silverware and brought them closer to her and put her napkin on her lap. I realized then, I had nothing to worry about in this restaurant. My children were prepared for fine dining.

This was a result of a simple habit: We set the table. We do not set a bread plate or spoon every day. But when our children were growing up, we would purposely eat with a more complete setting on certain days. The practice is worth the extra dishes. The children are then prepared for any social situation. They will be a welcomed guest at a friend's house for dinner. You won't worry about them at a wedding reception. As they grow older, they will have confidence at prom, a dinner with the girlfriend's parents, or a lunch job interview.

For resources on table manners and settings, see or read "Emily Post's Table Manners for Kids" found in The Lost Apron Store.