So often with busy and conflicting schedules, it can be quite challenging for family members to come together and spend quality time at the dining table for a meal. Now more than ever it appears we are in an age, and society, of eat-on-the-go. Because of this fast-paced society, social graces have — for some — fallen by the way side and are not demonstrated as dominantly as possible.

Sitting down with kids and enjoying a family meal, and allowing children to set the table, is beneficial for a many important reasons. Also, during the holiday season, is the perfect time for kids to practice setting the table and exercise the use of table manners – plus it is a great time to get the family together without distractions of everyday life and simply celebrate the joys of the season.

Learning how to properly set a table is an important skill for kids to learn. And while it may be a little challenging at first, once the child properly learns how to set a table he or she will be more likely to volunteer to set the table on a regular basis. Additionally, by teaching the child how to set the table you are spending quality time which is priceless.
Finally, no matter whether your table is an imported high-end mahogany wood in a setting with vaulted ceilings and crystal chandlers or a small quaint piece in the heart of the home, the importance, and focus, is not on what kind of table as it is using the table you have as the center to communicate, share love and time. Here’s to family time!

Below, are a few tips to the benefits of setting the table:

The ability and opportunity to teach children good table manners. Children don’t arrive in this world automatically knowing what to do. We must teach them and that takes time.

The ability to spend quality time with your child discussing the day and learning about how they are developing in life. Note: Parents, this is not the time to scold, or nag, rather to gain information about each other to keep the lines of communication open. Examples of some starter questions: What is the worst thing that happened today? What is the best thing that happened today? What is the silliest thing that happened today? Parents should also answer the same questions.

The ability to send a very loud and clear message to children that family time is important. And your presence, sitting at that table, says that everything else is on hold and can wait. Note: This is a great time to put the phone down and turn the television off.

The ability to teach children how to set the table.

Enjoy each other, share love and spend time.

Rose Hedgemond, President of Avenues of Excellence, and an etiquette and social protocol professional. Do you have an etiquette or social protocol question? Email her at or follow her on Facebook at Rose Hedgemond and Twitter @AOE_INC.