Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Setting the Table

Dinner time can be complete chaos with toddlers. The kids are hungry/bored and mommy needs to focus on getting dinner ready so we can eat on time. A couple months ago I decided maybe if they can “help” get everything ready for dinner, then they will be occupied while I make dinner and it’d actually be productive. So we worked a little chore for them into our pre-dinner routine.

They get to “set the table” each night! They each set their own place setting complete with a spoon/fork, napkin, cup, and plate. And together they help get baby sister setup too.

We’ve dedicated two lower drawers to everything they need.



They are always so proud that they set the table themselves. I love how they use their napkins just like mommy and daddy!

photo 1

photo 2

Post dinner they then scrape their plate and put it in the sink. These chores are super simple, and 2.5 year olds love to “help”, so seize the opportunity!


  1. Brilliant. My current occupy-during-dinner activitiy is filling the muffin tins with muffin tin papers, which gets me about 10 minutes and a mess on the floor. I like your activity better. Any tips on letting them "help" you cook? I have done that with D a couple times, but usually when we have more time than is available for a week night dinner, but she definitely thinks she is hot stuff when we make muffins on Saturdays together.

    1. I love the muffin tin idea! They "help" a lot when we bake and occasionally when I'm doing the prep portion of a recipe (ex. mixing the marinade) and then they watch while I do the dangerous part (stove top). Some of the things they are "useful" at right now; retrieving ingredients from the pantry, pouring measured ingredients into the bowl, pouring ingredients into the measuring cups, mixing, finding needed cooking tools (measuring spoons/cups, plastic bowls, spoons,...), plopping dough onto the cookie sheet, wearing oven mits and putting the pan into the unheated oven (and then I switch it to the hot oven when they're not looking), using towels to "clean up" our messes, and of course licking the bowl. Basically anything they see us do, they want to try, and for the most part we let them give it a go.

      I think it's great for kids of any age to experience the kitchen! Who wants to be in college and only know how to make Easy Mac? Pshh!