On any given weeknight at our house, dinner tends to come together in a bit of a rush. Setting the table is often the least of my worries and so forks and napkins find themselves tossed haphazardly onto the table, never on the right side, forks often hiding under napkins.
So, just before dinner on the afternoon of Thanksgiving, I decided that I’d enlist my daughter, Maya, to help me set the table and that we’d set it well. No forks hiding under napkins, no utensils pointing every which way. I’d show her how to properly set a table. I pulled out the fancy napkins and napkin rings and set out the silverware and plates and called her into join me.
With her baby brother settled on my hip and feeling very much the matriarch, I picked up a napkin and a napkin ring and began to show her how it’s done. She picked up her own napkin and her own napkin ring and hastily assured me, “I know how to do this. I do table setting work.”
“Oh, right. I guess you do.” I replied. And then I stood back and watched my Montessori girl eagerly take over.
This time of year brings so many parties and big meals to plan and orchestrate, which means plenty of opportunities to get our kids involved in the action. Though it might be tempting to hand over a box of crayons and a placemat to color, there is actually quite a bit of prep that kids can get involved with. And, you never know, you might stumble across something they already know how to do quite well!
Here are a few ways to get your kids involved with holiday party or meal prep this season:
Planning the menu
Thought you might hear a chorus of “Goldfish!” and “Cookies!” ask your child or children what they think you should serve for your upcoming holiday meal and talk with them about the dishes you are planning to make. They’ll learn what goes into making a big meal and maybe even get more excited about eating it!
Buying the Supplies
Bring your child along to the grocery store and shop together. Give him one or two items on the list to look for as you walk throughout the store and talk about how all of the ingredients come together to make a dinner.
Setting the Table
Like mine, your child probably already knows how to set a table, so stand back and let them show off a bit!
Chances are your children are very excited about the idea of guests arriving. So give them the job of host or hostess. Let them stand at the door and offer to take guests’ coat or offer them something to drink. They’ll learn how to be welcoming and gracious and your guests will love it.