I have a very spirited, high needs six year old (seven in February) in addition to two easier younger kids (3 and newborn). Every formal meal with extended family I've left very embarrassed. We constantly work on manners, but they don't seem to stick. Tomorrow, we will go to my parents' for Thanksgiving. Behavior I really would like to see:
*eating with mouth closed
*talking only when her mouth is empty
*keeping food in her mouth
*if someone offers her something she doesn't like, say, "No thank you;" if she tries something she doesn't like, just leave it on her plate
*respond to people when they talk to her
*sitting on her butt on the seat of the chair with all four legs of the chair on the floor
*talking in a quiet, calm voice
*no making faces at people or eye rolling
*staying aware of her body and giving other people and things space
*talking respectfully to others in a peaceful voice (no whining, no name calling, no bossing)
*taking a break when she gets angry, upset, or rambunctious
We pretty much have a problem with every single thing on this list. I've talked pretty much non-stop about these behaviors with her for months with no progress. We've tried having fancy tea parties like Felicity of the American Girl series to stress good manners. We've read lots of books on manners and anger management. Any suggestions on how to keep her behavior relatively polite? I often feel really frustrated with her out-of-control behavior when we go places.
Partner to R ('03); Parent to T ('07), A ('10), and E ('13)
I don't suppose you have enough kids in the family for a "kids' table"?
For tomorrow, how about rehearsing "I'm finished eating, Mom. May I be excused, please?"
Then breathe and realize that she'll figure it out before she goes off to college. My DS is 4, and I'm confident that some day he'll be able to put a cracker or chip in his mouth without it exploding all over the table. Some day . . .