Wednesday, 2 February 2011

the art of saying less and having more done - setting the table

I always love to find ways to help my children being proactive around the house, without having to say anything. This is a great way to stop hasseling the kids, and still have them help us out! (and they feel so grown up! excellent for their self esteem!)

I have this great idea to share with you today (and a bonus!)

Setting the table:
Pea (almost )always sets the table before we eat. But many times he just doesn't know where to put things, and he asks us, while we are in the final moments of having dinner fixed (you know, those last few minutes when you don't really have the time to go and help out, because everything is ready and will burn if left there too long...). I was frustrated not to be able to go, at the moment he is ready to learn, so after seeing a set of those of Playful learning, it gave me the motivation to replace our old placemats.

I used her instructions to make ours, but I ended up not using the scan of our silverware. I was not happy with the result of that. Instead, I went online, and found a photo of our set, and used that to glue to the placemat.

Also, we didn't put a dot for glasses, because we felt like it was to busy, and let's be real, our glasses are never on our placemates anyways...The dot you see in the left upper corner is for the salad bowl, something we have every night with the main course

and I am happy to report that is works like a charm.

We have set up a code with Pea to let him know it is the time to set the table without using words. We bang on the (stainless steel) bin we have in the kitchen like if it was a drum. He choosed that himself! So even if he is downstairs, he hears it and runs to the kitchen knowing that this his is cue.

bonus! Clean hands at the table!

Yes, we also managed to find a way to have the kids come to the table with their hands clean, again, without saying a word! Want to know the trick?

Pea is also responsible to put a hand in the plates while setting the table up. The hands are besides the plates in the cupboard. So when they come to the table, they get a great reminder to go and wash their hands. And once they have cleaned hands, they can bring the hand back to the pile. As we always say, if the hand is in the plate, we cannot fill it with something else, so clean your plate by washing your hands!

works like a charm!

Do you have a favorite trick to say less and have more done?


  1. I LOVE this! Your placemats are beautiful! That was a great idea to glue a photo of your silverware to the placemat. And the "clean hands" idea is wonderful! I added this to my post on table setting at

  2. You are a GENIUS. I just found your blog and am reading through the archives as I have time. My son is 3 and my daughter is 4 mos and I really want to set up a more Montessori-esque environment at home. Your blog is proving to be a fantastic resource. Keep up the awesome blogging!