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Yesterday we got a new table and chairs set & now we can all eat together as a family!<img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/img/vbsmilies/smilies/joy.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="joy"><img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/img/vbsmilies/smilies/joy.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="joy"><img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/img/vbsmilies/smilies/joy.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="joy"><br><br>
So, now to teach table manners. What to teach? What do you expect of your kids at four? Are there any books/videos that helped you teach the whats and whys of being polite & respectful to each other while eating?<br><br>
I'm also interested in learning more about "formal" table manners for myself for business-type lunches or other special occasions.<br><br>
TIA!! <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/thumb.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="thumbs up"><br><br>
-rockport-
 

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Are you hoping to teach complete table-service, use-this-fork-for-salad type of manners, or just basic courtesy type stuff? Because, IMO, the courtesy-type stuff is best learned through observation mixed with a little subtle correction. Nine times out of ten, my kids use their utensils, wipe their mouths with napkins, etc. because this has been modeled to them (i've never actually told them to use a fork or a spoon, I just provided them while my kids were toddlers, and they naturally wanted to emulate their parents). Well actually, if my kiddo preferred to use his hands to eat something messy instead of using a fork or a spoon, i don't think it would bother me though I might give him a weird look. Other than that, maybe you could write a list of your table expectations. if using a fork is important to you, write that on the list, along with whatever else you want to see your kids do at the table. Then try to make the list as short as possible by circling the top 4 most important expectations (like no yelling, food stays on the plate, stay seated until you are no longer hungry, etc.) and work on those, of course letting your kids know what those new rules are and the reasons why they are important to you. Help them understand how those rules are beneficial to them (if we talk quietly, and each wait our turns to talk, then everyone gets a chance to say something), they are more likely to accept the rules.
 

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Hm, I think mostly courtesy-type stuff. I basically want my kids to be able to eat out with friends and get invited back!! So, basic courtesy for at home and out with friends and a smattering of "proper" manners for special occasions/emergencies. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/winky.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="Wink"><br><br>
We haven't really eaten together in one place enough before this week to really model table manners. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/redface.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="Embarrassment"> Right now eating only at the table is a new concept! So for now my four might be: eat only at the table, bums & knees off the table, use a utensil, & please don't tell jokes about dinosaur poop @ the table. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/img/vbsmilies/smilies/eyesroll.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="roll"><br><br>
So, once we have those we'll probably move up to four more.<br><br>
Thanks, SaoirseC! <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/thumb.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="thumbs up">
 

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It sounds like you are working more on other things, but I wanted to offer my experience and urge you to take it very slow and careful. Ds (almost 3) has picked up the awful habit (yes, picked up...he heard some kids do it and joined right in to make the neat sound) of smacking his lips and chewing with his mouth open. Even though I jumped on it right away, and told him not to do that, do "this" instead, it has sort of hung around anyway, in spurts. Recently, it came back, and I reminded him to chew with his mouth closed. That resulted in swallowing his bite whole. He truly doesn't get it.<br><br>
Your ds is older, but just remember he's little and some of this will seem like randomness to him. You don't want to stress him out about mealtimes!
 
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