Advice Column, Baby, Child, Parenting, Pregnancy & Baby, Tween & Teen

Teaching table manners

  • Kaboutjie
  • Category Advice Column, Baby, Child, Parenting, Pregnancy & Baby, Tween & Teen

Teaching table manners is something vital in my home. I’m not a mom that has loads of rules and I am quite flexible with a lot of things, but one thing that was enforced by my mother in my childhood was sitting down at the table as a family for every meal. We used to beg her all the time to sit in front of the tv with our plates on our lap. The odd times she did allow this is was a great treat!

Looking back I realise that at the time I thought it was a stupid rule: to always sit as a family at the table for supper. There were times when we all sat at the table stony faced and angry because of a family tiff (either between siblings or with my mom), nobody speaking and death looks being passed around.

Strange how things turned around when I first became a mom! I now look back at this simple rule and remember the wonderful family meals we had, especially when we got older and everyone was off on their own daily missions but at the end of the day we all came together for that one meal, to connect. I thank my mom for having the wisdom to do something so simple for us as a family.

When my daughter was born I told my husband that it is very important to me that we get a table and sit for dinner together which he thought was strange. He was not very impressed either when I told him that part of this family dinner rule is that the tv is turned off as we have an open plan house!

Not only does it bring the family together, it is also a very good opportunity to teach my children basic manners. It is also the start of teaching my children the importance of helping around the house and doing their bit.

Here are the basic rules we follow:

  • Wash hands before coming to the table.
  • My 3 year old is responsible for setting the table.
  • No toys at the table.
  • No phones, iPads, laptops, books at the table.
  • No throwing or grabbing of food.
  • No banging utensils.
  • No spitting food out.
  • Stay seated at the table for the entire meal.
  • No yelling or loud noises at the table.
  • Asking to be excused from the table.
  • Using the words “please” and “thank you”.
  • Saying thank you for the meal.
  • My 3 year old and I clear the table at the end of every meal.

If you are religious it is a great opportunity to say grace together with your family before your meal.

What do you do for family meal times?

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