Friday, May 2, 2014

Setting the Table

One of the kids' jobs is to set the table at dinnertime. It's not a large job, nor is it a complicated job, but strangely enough, four kids can make that job into a chore. For whatever reason, it's never been a simple task for them. And two nights ago, I'd had enough. I mean, how many times can you tell someone that you need plates and bowls and silverware? Do I have to remind everyone that a glass of water at mealtimes would be nice? (The kids aren't fans of milk, so thankfully, we don't have that extra complication.) Had my kids had their way, we'd all stuff our faces into a communal trough and wipe our mouths with our sleeves. And then let the dog clean up the plates.

Well, it took over twelve years of having children present, but we've finally found a system.

Here it is:

  • The kids should set the table the same way, whether it is for breakfast, lunch, or dinner.
  • Each child has a duty, and is responsible for only that duty.
  • Everyone clears the table.

How easy is that? Pretty easy, but those three components of the system aren't enough for the kids, obviously. They need concrete details. And so I gave them a few more regulations.

  • Set a bowl and plate every time, even if they aren't sure they'll use them.
  • Set a knife, a fork, and a spoon every time.

And as for the actual duties? Well here they are:

  • Zoe takes care of silverware.
  • Talia places napkins and drinks at each setting.
  • Aaron gets the plates and bowls.
  • Melina takes care of the extras, such as salt and pepper, or ketchup, or taking over a shared vegetable. (Tim says, "Melina takes care of the accessories." Of course she does.)

Table setting may not be a problem in your household, and I'm hoping that from here on out, it isn't in mine. Now, we can go back to much more important items, such as figuring out a system for folding and distributing clothes, or, even better, picking up the dog doo.

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