Easy Table Setting Tips for Kids

This time of year brings lots of gatherings, usually around a dinner table. And while manners are a big deal in our home, formalities at the table don’t get as much attention. We are casual people, but I still want my kids to know the basics of a table setting…if anything, so they feel comfortable when in that position.

And in order to make it fun and easy to remember, we employ two methods for remembering the key things at the table. First, is the B & D for remembering which side has your bread plate and which has your drink. I know this has helped me at really formal tables where I’m worried about accidentally eating my neighbor’s roll.


The second trick is great when teaching your kids how to help set the table. The fork and knife always seem to end up on the wrong side, but not when using the FORK method. Simply picture the word ‘fork,’ and use that as your placement guide. The F is first, and stands for fork, followed by O, which is the shape of the plate, and K, representing the knife.

fork method

Okay, so there’s no R, but FOK doesn’t sound as nice. And ‘FORK’ is easy to remember. Update: A reader suggested making it FORKS and putting the spoon in!

For the really young crowd, this printable place mat is a fun learning tool.


You can find all the rules and etiquette online, but I find this one particularly helpful.


Do you have any fun and easy tips? Feel free to share in the comments.

Leave a Comment


  1. Maury wrote:

    I always remember the 4 and 5 rule… it works for most of it. The fork goes on the left side because it has 4 letters in its name and so does left. Everything with 5 letters in its name goes on the right side because right has 5 letters… glass, spoon, knife (napkin doesn't work). It helped me remember when I was little and I still catch myself doing it!

    Posted 11.23.11 Reply
  2. Angeline wrote:

    I know place settings seems fussy to some – But it goes a long way in promoting polite eating habits! Thanks for the great tips and resources!

    Posted 11.23.11 Reply
  3. I love this post, I'll be bringing the kids by later to read it… I set the table that way each night, but have never explained it so clearly to them. Thanks 🙂

    Posted 11.23.11 Reply
  4. Lili wrote:


    Posted 11.23.11 Reply
  5. You could just use "FORKS" to incorporate the spoon…. Fork, O for the plate, Knife, Spoon!

    Posted 11.23.11 Reply
  6. Leslie wrote:

    Love the tips! Sadly, I still get confused… 🙁

    Posted 11.23.11 Reply
  7. You should title this easy table setting for adults – I can never remember the rules! Thanks for the tips.

    Posted 11.23.11 Reply
  8. Love dining etiquette! I always think of Titanic where they tell Leo to just work his way from the outside in on his flatware. Ahaha! 🙂

    Posted 11.23.11 Reply
  9. I learned the 4 and 5 rule mentioned above. The napkin went with the fork because it's lonely being the only utensil of its kind.

    Posted 11.23.11 Reply
  10. Simply LKJ wrote:

    I love this! I don't even remember where, when, or how I learned to set a proper table. Something tells me it was at my Granny's home, but these tips are awesome. So printing them out…not for my girls, but for my sweet hubby who STILL doesn't know how to set a proper table!! LOL

    Posted 11.23.11 Reply
  11. pam wrote:

    4/5 rule still helps me today!

    happy thanksgiving cassie! pam

    Posted 11.23.11 Reply
  12. Amanda wrote:

    girl I just have to remember the "FORK" thing- b/c I always forget where to put the knife! LOL and I just realized I have it wrong right now and I totally just took pics & blogged about my Thanksgiving an hour ago- with my knives in the wrong spot- oh well…..

    Posted 11.23.11 Reply
  13. Michaela wrote:

    This is great! I kinda still need these tips (:

    Posted 11.24.11 Reply
  14. Those could be my hands making the b and d- I always do that! This is a great post Cass:)

    Posted 11.24.11 Reply
  15. grh wrote:

    Similar to "FORK" is "BMW" = bread, meal, water. Not really helpful for home, since most people don't set their tables with separate water glasses & bread plates, but very helpful at fancier restaurants!

    Posted 11.24.11 Reply
  16. Thanks for the detailed instructions. I can easily teach my daughter the proper setting without any complaints. I know she can easily remember this settings through your marvelous ideas. Great help for all of us!

    Posted 12.25.11 Reply
  17. Cy wrote:

    When our children were little, and we were trying to reinforce etiquette at the table, we would give them points for for when they placed their napkin in their lap as soon as they sat down. We would deduct points if they didn’t. Also we gave points when they placed their napkin in their chair when they were glowing to the fridge to retrieve ketchup etc. Lastly we gave points when placing their napkin on their plate when they were finished.

    Posted 12.19.17 Reply