When the table’s set for a dinner party, serve your kids a fancy meal before the guests arrive

I’m so impressed with Suzy and her husband’s ability to model calm in the face of a dinner party! What fun, and what lovely learning opportunities and memories for their kids:

My husband and I were having a dinner party the other night and decided to use a tablecloth and the nice dishes. The dinner was scheduled for just after the kids went to bed, so we decided to make things a little fun for them while we were preparing the dinner. We seated them at the table with nice plates and silverware and "served" them dinner. We had "table side preparation of chocolate milk", "appetizer of mini cheeses", and took their plates away for the main course to be prepared in the kitchen and we even delivered the plates with the choreographed swish onto the table (from the left of course!). And they loved it! It was fun to do, and I hope when we do take them to a fancy restaurant they’ll have some experience of true table service.

Related: A trick for figuring out which plate and glass are yours at a crowded table


  1. says

    What a gesture of love and respect for their children: that they don’t come in second, by any means. Storing it in my memory for when my children are older. Thank you.

  2. Kate's Mom says

    This post reminded me of my mom….. My mom always insisted on manners at all meals — not just the fancy ones. She wanted us to be in the habit of good manners so that we didn’t have to think about it when the meal was fancy.

    I hope I can pass that on to my kids!

  3. says

    I think this is a great idea with older kids, but with mine (1,3,5), the pretty table would be a mess by the time they finished! Of course, not too many of us with little ones are having dinner parties :)

  4. Annette says

    My sister’s friend’s parents did this for their high school age kids and friends before prom. It was a great way to show they cared about them and to stay involved. Love the idea for littler ones also!

  5. Zed says

    I can’t even wrap my mind around this hack!! I do have dinner parties often, even though my kids are 1, 4, 6, and a bun in the oven. However, a half hour before the party I am always frantic and taking care of a million last-minute details, many of which couldn’t be done earlier because of the aforementioned children!

    That being said, for me this is still a great hack, because I can certainly do a fancy meal for the kids the next day, so that they have something to look forward to. Thanks! And I admire you, Suzy!!