For every busy parent, dinnertime is stressful. You want to serve a healthy meal and spend time together -- but at the end of a long day, even zapping leftovers can be a challenge. Make it easier by teaching your child how to set the table. Kids 5 and up are ready to learn this basic chore, so get your child on board by talking up how important her job is. For younger kids, skip the sharp knives, use dishes that aren't breakable, and set all the supplies out on the counter. Older kids can grab dishes and silverware themselves. To help your child remember where everything goes, use our guide on the next page. And when you sit down to eat, make sure you praise her for a job well done. She'll feel so proud to finish her big-kid task -- and you'll enjoy a dinner that's a little bit less rushed.
Need to brush up on where to place those knives and forks? Use this guide.
The tried-and-true way to remember the silverware order: The fork stands alone on the left side of the plate, and the knife protects the spoon from the fork on the right side.
To make it even easier, download our free printable place mats. Try laminating them to make them last.
Copyright © 2008. Used with permission from the February 2008 issue of Parents magazine.