To do: Give your child a placemat like this to use as a guide when setting their own lunch / dinner spot.
Time: 15 minutes
Materials: Placemat, low cupboard with your child’s dinner things.
Give your child more independence at mealtimes by providing a guide for setting up their plate, cup, fork and spoon. Start with a printable placemat like this one, or make one at home with a blank sheet of paper.
This placemat is for children of all ages, but we recommend starting around 18 months. It’s easy to identify what goes where on the placemat, and your child will enjoy the autonomy over their meal preparation.
Of course, you can use this placemat however you’d like at home, but we have a few ideas for you to get started:
First, print out the placemat or make your own using a sheet of printer paper.
Next, as a way to get your child excited about their very own spot at the table, write their name somewhere on the placemat. Either on the upper corner of the side with the images, or on the blank reverse side. Get creative with coloring as well, this is your placemat after all!
Finally, laminate the placemat or use a sheet protector so it can be washed off. An easy way to ‘laminate’ at home is to use packing tape, and carefully apply strips of tape to both sides to make it water proof. Simply cut along the edges to make a seal.
Now! Start your lesson in Grace and Courtesy.
Show your child exactly where they can find the utensils they will need for meal times. A special low cupboard or bin will do. Next, invite them to bring their things to the table, one at a time and very carefully.
Sitting side by side, ask your child to match up their meal tools like cups, forks, and spoons, with the placemat shapes! Explain to your child that whenever it’s time to get ready for lunch or dinner, they can set themselves up independently.
Recommended for you: