The New Seating Charts!

This week’s Welcome Home post is going to be rather logistical in nature as I show you our brand new seating charts!

Yes, that IS excitement you hear in my voice, because now my answer to some of the most petty of squabbles is,

“See the chart.”

Every year for vacation I make a Van Seating Chart scribbled quickly on a piece of paper as we are leaving the house.  Every day, the older children rearrange themselves so that all get the coveted front row seat where they can chit chat with Mom and Dad and sit by the baby.

Why I thought I needed to ditch this method of arrangement once vacation was over, I have no idea for it really is a great way to keep the van squabbles at bay.  So, this past week after hearing one too many times,

“The front row in mine!”

and hearing 4 other voices raised in protest, I decided it was time to give the Van Seating Chart a permanent place in our home.  Ahhh, so much nicer!

Now, you might notice, that two of the children do not move…ever.  Garin is always in the front row because he is the current baby and in a car seat I don’t feel like moving over and over again.  And until the new baby arrives, Micah will also be staying put in the second row.  After baby gets here, he’ll be in a booster and I will change the seating chart to reflect his ability to move about the cabin.  This means a couple of the children never sit by each other, but I’m hoping they aren’t too bothered by it and can hang on until the new baby is here.

Now, for the other seating chart I put together:

For years, we have followed a very streamlined meal time, but seating has always been an issue.  Everyone wants to sit by Daddy and often the seating arrangement that naturally happens leaves two toddlers sitting together with no one big enough to help them pass food.

Once again, I was tired of hearing,

“I’m sitting by Daddy!”

and then a squabble over who sat by Daddy last time; however, I knew from experience that trying to change where children sat every single meal was NOT a good idea.  It was entirely too chaotic, so I couldn’t do what I had done with the van seating.  My compromise was to create a seating arrangement by season.

Each child has an assigned seat for an entire season with the two toddlers sitting smack dab in the center of the table on either side so they are never left stranded together fending for themselves.  My seat and Daddy’s seat never change.  We sit together so we can both work at filling plates and passing them.

I am VERY pleased with the results!  It also helps for the times when I fill the plates from the kitchen and send my helper out with the plates because they know precisely where to put each plate.

Awwww, bliss!


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28 thoughts on “The New Seating Charts!

  1. The van seating switching on a vacation makes some real sense. We have a permanent seating chart, so everyone knows where they sit, has buckling help next to them if needed, etc. I don’t think we’d want to switch around on a regular basis, but on long trip with lots of driving, we may give it a try.

    We also have a permanent seating chart at the table. Again this makes sure that little ones have help, boosters are where they are needed, passing food can happen, cups can be left at their spots for the whole day, etc.

    Heather (mom to 7 children ages 10.5 years down to 6 weeks)

  2. I’m a firm believer in the seating chart. Have been for years. My ‘littles’ are all becoming ‘bigs’ and we STILL have assigned seating at dinner table and vehicle!

  3. We have learned that the van seating chart is a necessity for road trips. But, I haven’t used it much when we get home. We have done a few….”this is where everyone is staying for the next week” things. But I may have to make it more permanent. Now the meal seating chart is brilliant. We have the same issue. People wanting to sit by Dad….and for a while we had the whoever set the table got to decide the seating….but that quickly became a problem as they always put themselves in the seat of honor. And, they weren’t really setting the table to be a helper to the family….but to have control. Also we had the same issue with little ones being left way out at the end of the table with no helpers. I am excited to try that one out and see how many arguments it takes care of!

  4. If we hadn’t started signed seats for the van I think I would have lost my mind by now! haha I’ve learned over the years that some kids just can’t set by each other…ever. We also do this for meals so we always have helpers for the little ones and dad and mom are not doing all the work. Infact, we seem to have a chart for everything! I’ve had people come over and laugh when they see our dining room as it’s covered with maps, charts, and anything else we want the kids to remember. Great post!

  5. Amy you just saved me a daily headache! Why on earth didn’t this ever occur to me? LOL we have the SAME squabbles continually. I too tried the rotating through at each meal thing, and found the exact same trouble: chaos! Also we have had the trouble with two littles stuck next to each other… THANK YOU for showing me a wonderful answer. I will implement it as soon as we move! Awesome!

  6. I never really thought about seating charts, but everyone does have assigned seats in the van and at the table. Sometimes they move by agreement. It is nice to know where to put each person’s plate when dinner is being dished up before everyone comes to the table.

    I guess when I was growing up we each had assigned places as well.

    Now as the kids get older and out of car and booster seats I may need to remember about assigning seats.

  7. I like the van seating chart! Great idea. Will remember it if squabbles ensue…

    For our table, I have 5 kids, 4 that can set the table and do so on weekly rotational basis. The person that sets the table, also decides where people sit. I made up personalized place cards for each one and they place it where they want the person to sit. They know that I sit next to the baby and that daddy and mommy like to sit together. Sometimes they choose to surround daddy and sometimes, mommy, but all in all, it has worked well for us. A couple of the placecards have gotten wet and destroyed so it is time to print out new ones…

  8. Growing up, we simply had “our chairs” and they never changed. Now, there were only 4 of us. So it was easy, we all ‘sat by’ everyone else, really.

    So far this is how we do it. Daddy sits at the head of the table, one kid on either side near him, the baby is in the high chair, and Mommy next to another child. They don’t usually fight about this. It will be interesting when baby #4 comes along…in the spring. :)

    In the car, they are all in 5-pt. harness car seats so their seats are simply assigned. The older two sit in the back row of the mini-van, and the baby (who is rear-facing) sits in the middle row. The new baby will also sit in the middle row when s/he is born. And Mommy and Daddy in front. I don’t know how this will change once we have more kids and they get out of car seats!

  9. Haha, this brings back memories from my childhood! There were 3 of us children and we rotated sitting up front in our car on a monthly basis (Generally, my mom and stepdad took separate vehicles).

  10. Love this, Amy. We are such a chart family – it really helps and it doesn’t take that long to make them! Just now, I saw the kids reference the kitchen cleaning chart {who was the unloader, loader, etc…} and I breathed a sigh of relief. Otherwise I would have spent the next 15 minutes listening to them debate over who does what.
    Great post, my friend!!

  11. I have a logistical question that may be too personal but I thought I would give it a try. I have 5 little ones with number 6 arriving in Dec and we have been driving a minivan, but are about to run out of room! What did you start driving when your children outgrew the space in your car? I will be able to take everyone with me in the caravan if it is just myself and the children, but if we want to go somewhere as a family we would have to take two cars. We are looking into getting a used something or other, but would love some advice on what works well for bigger families. Thanks!

    • I hope you don’t mind me answering this too Amy….
      When we had our sixth we still kept the minivan but dh went to a junk yard and bought a second 3 seater seat for the middle where the two seater one is. I don’t know if you have buckets or what but this worked for us until the 7th was on the way. Then Providence stepped in the day I went into labor with him and we picked up our “new” van the day we came home from the hospital with him! God is good and it is a great story!

  12. Assigned seating is a great idea! My kids all have the same seat in the car and around the table. Always. It’s nice, because there’s never an argument over who sits where. But we only have three kids :)

    Megan @ wwwsunshinethroughthewindows.blogspot.com

  13. I love these ideas! I recently started a kitchen helper chart in my kitchen. We have a small kitchen with very little counter space and having 4 eager helpers at every meal was making it very stressful. I now have 1 designated helper each day and I am able to focus on that child. It is helping me to be able to give them cooking instruction appropriate to thier age, and allowing me that special one-on-one time with each child on a regular basis.

  14. My kids wanted to sit by Daddy, too. We rotated them around the table every week. We also assigned dinner duties, according to which chair they were sitting in. For instance, the chair to the left of dad was “set the table”, the chair to the right of dad was “clear the table”…and so on. It may sound silly, but it works for us!