My reasons for getting a good family dinner on the table each night aren't just about the process of eating together. While that's certainly one of the biggest benefits, it's definitely not the only objective. I see family dinners as way for all of us to join forces and work together towards one common goal. We all love to eat, so dinner seems like the most obvious place for this to happen.
The boys have a role in the process as well. While they enjoy helping out in the kitchen now and again, their main duty at this point is to set the table. They alternate weeks, and while I do appreciate that they assist with our family dinners, I have to say that their table setting skills have been really lacking lately. So, I created the above guide, which Rob convinced me to share with you. I think he's looking for witnesses to my insanity, but if it happens to be helpful or inspiring to anyone else, then it's worth being perceived as a tad loony, I suppose.
I've drawn and labelled two basic place settings. These are the ones we use most often. Regular dinner encompasses anything that isn't soup. The soup dinner is...well, soup. We're not fancy and only use the items we really need. In addition to the drawings, I've also written a small list of what it required and included a few helpful tips I thought they could use. Jackson insists on folding his napkin with a "hotdog" fold versus the traditional "hamburger", which is fine with me, so long as the fold goes along the plate and not opposite it.
So there you have it. My technique for helping my kids learn to set a proper table. Crazy or not.