Toddler Table Setting

In my self-directed Montessori studies, I've learned that it is very important for a child, even as young as 15-18 months old, to learn to set their own little table. However, a child that young doesn't know what the proper placement is for place setting. Therefore it is recommended that you use a placemat with outlines of a cup, plate/bowl, and flatware. I really am trying to stay within budget as we work ourselves out of debt, and I would rather spend my preschool money on other things right now, rather than shelling out $4 or more for a toddler placemat.

So we began... Tips Jr. now will pull out a place mat when he wants to eat, and that is my cue to help him finish setting his table and get some food in his tummy!

Dropping a plate on his table.

His neatly organized cupboard under the microwave. Maybe someday we'll find a new home for the FoodSaver and he can use that shelf as well.

He still hasn't figured out that he only needs ONE plate or ONE bowl or ONE spoon or ONE fork or ONE cup or ONE knife. So instead he'll pull out however many there are in the cupboard!

But as you can see, there is no indication on his placemat where each item goes. I have 8 of these placemats I bought at JC Penny's 5 years ago when I was working there and they went on clearance + my employee discount. I think I paid about $2/each. Well, we weren't really using them all that often, so I decided to have Tips Jr use them. But I just kept putting off actually tracing each item on his placemats so he could know how to set his little table.

I finally did it - so here is the progression....

I bought the DUKTIG flatware set from IKEA because for all intents and purposes it is a real flatware set that is just the right size for toddlers. It is $5 and it even comes in its own storage tray!

I also bought the 12 pack DUKTIG bowl/plate set for $10. I thought about buying the coffee & tea set or even the acrylic tumblers that went with it, but those glasses were even smaller than the souvenier shot glasses Tips collected as a teenager. We used to keep these plates and bowls and the shot glasses in Tips Jr.'s cupboard, but he kept pulling them out (literally pulling them out and dropping them) and broke a shot glass once. I think he liked the sound the ceramic makes. Anyway- we keep these plates up in our cupboard and bring them down when occasion permits.
Since he pulls out the DUKTIG plates and bowls, we decided to instead stock his shelves with the KALAS set that I bought when Tips Jr was just a little baby and getting ready to start eating solids. I didn't realize how large the KALAS spoons are! Much too big for a baby's mouth. I wish I had bought the DUKTIG flatware earlier, those spoons are just the right size for a baby and young toddler.

Here are glasses that we use since he is drinking more than what a shot glass can hold - and he's getting better at holding the cup. As you can see in the previous pictures, we use the rectangle plates and bowls as well from the KALAS set on a regular basis. But since a rectangle plate isn't a standard, I decided to use the DUKTIG large plate for placemat.I got out some cardstock and then traced each item with a pencil on it. Then I cut it out and placed it on the placemat in the proper position (and remember, this is for a toddler, so it's not going to be a super formal place setting like you have a dinner parties and fine restaurants!) Then I used my black Sharpie and traced around each pattern piece.

And hopefully, clicking on this picture of the pattern will bring it to full scale so that if you don't want to go through the work of tracing each item onto paper, cutting it out and then tracing it again onto your placemats, you can just print this picture out and hopefully it will be the correct size and you can save yourself a step! Just be sure that when you print it from your web browser that you make sure it is on landscape setting rather than portrait or it will cut it off.
So here's his new little placemat on his table....

And here it is with its complete place setting!


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