Teaching our kids etiquette is important, and a great way to start is to get them to help set the table. Kids love to help with household chores, especially when they’re younger, so give them a chance to do it right from the start. Teaching your child the proper etiquette for setting a table will help and may even save them embarrassing times in the future. We all stared in wonder at the array of forks and spoons laid out in front of us at a fancy restaurant or event and wondered what they were for. The truth is, few of us know how to properly set a table. We all have dinner parties, organize vacation meals, lunches with friends, and dinners for our families every night. But are the tables really set? Or do you just drop plates on the table and scatter random silverware around them?
What is needed to set up a basic table
You probably already have everything you need to set a basic table for your everyday dining. If you have no idea what these items are or how to get them out, we’ve got you covered.
First lay out the placemat and place the plate in the center of the mat. If you are serving salad, you should use a salad bowl and place it on top of the plate. Place the fork on the left side of the plate and the salad fork on the left, if you are serving salad. Place the knife to the right of the plate and a spoon to the right of it.
If you are using a water glass, place it in the right corner of the mat, above the knife. If you are going to drink wine, place the wine glass to the right of the juice or water glass. Everyone needs a napkin and one that can be placed on the plates or under the fork.
Of course, use discretion, depending on whether you drink wine or not, or have very little ones, they probably don’t need a knife.
How to set a formal table
This is where fine china can be showcased, as well as your best tablecloth. It’s probably not the perfect setting for a little one, but it will make an older child feel big, especially if it has something to do with setting up that lovely table.
On top of the tablecloth, place the flat plate in the middle of the decoration, then the salad bowl on top. There will be a few extra pieces here, like the bread plate which will be placed on the left, above the plate, with a butter knife placed horizontally. The utensils you used in the casual dining room can go in the same arrangement.
With every fancy meal, comes the dessert, and the dessert spoon should be placed horizontally over the plate. The glasses go to the same place and the napkin goes over the bowl, perhaps inside a napkin ring. If you are serving coffee, the cup fits under the wine and water glasses.
Of course, there is always room for you to make the table unique. For a special occasion, like Thanksgiving or Christmas, add a festive touch. Put a small wreath around the plate or place Christmas crackers on top of the plate. It’s your party, after all, and you can do whatever you want.
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Sources: Architectural Digest, Good Housekeeping, Martha Stewart
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