Manner #1: Setting the Table Properly
Attention Getter: I set the table in disarray. I had two cups at one place, no plate at another; some people were missing forks and others had way too many knives. You get the idea. When we sat down to eat, everyone looked dazed and confused. It was craziness for a moment as we tried to locate all the parts to our place setting. Then my son, as if on cue from above, said, “This is so confusing.” Thanks Crew for the perfect segue (had to look up that spelling) into why we set the table a certain way.
Why?: This is where you ask the kids and they might teach you. We decided that being consistent eliminates confusion, makes everyone more comfortable, dinner flows better, and there is a smaller chance of someone else using your fork, cup, napkin, etc. It is also really helpful when you are eating outside of your home.
Next I took them through step by step how to set a table properly. They each arranged their own setting as I explained how and why we do it.
Manner: The spoon, knife, and glass go on the right and fork goes on the left. One way to remember this is that there are 5 letters in spoon and knife and glass and there are 5 letters in right. (You have no idea the joy that I felt when I realized this. It was like I just served Waffles on Wednesday.) Likewise, there are 4 letters in fork and 4 letters in left. Forks also have 4 prongs.
I told my kids that the napkin goes on the left because the fork is lonely all over there by himself. I read somewhere that the napkin goes next to the fork not under it so that you can easily put it on your lap. The blade of the knife is turned toward the plate for safety reasons. I also learned in my readings that you only set what utensils you will be using for the meal so eaters don’t get confused. In simple terms, if you don’t need a spoon don’t put it on the table.
Practice: I had my kids take turns setting the table the rest of the week. All my kids still needed help and reteaching. That is when I came up with the napkin being lonely thing.
Follow-Up: Now every good creator knows that you have to first know the rules before you can break them. So towards the end of the week I quizzed my kids on what goes where. And they passed! They knew the rules so now it was time to break them. I let the kids set the table however they wanted with whatever they wanted for a silly spaghetti lunch. We had spatulas and teaspoons for utensils, cookie sheets and pans for plates, pitchers and sippy cups for glasses, and pants (my favorite) and dish towels for napkins. We giggled and slopped our way through the spaghetti. It was a fun way to celebrate the end of our first manner week.