Table Manners

Jewelie - posted on 02/12/2009 ( 4 moms have responded )




My husband and I have 4 children, ages 12, 10, 9 and 6. We sit together at the table at home, on average, for supper about 5-6 times per week. Despite many attempts at different methods (positive reinforcement, punishment, time-out, dismissal from table), it seems that supper time just gets out of hand and giggling and laughing becomes the main goal. I feel like the meanie at the table for constantly telling the children to settle down b/c I do want them to enjoy suppertime, but my husband and I just seem to have little to no control during mealtime. Does anyone have any suggestions as to how to have fun at the table with a large family without it becoming a comedic contest?


Amber - posted on 02/13/2009




Don't know if this will help, but my mother was strict about us having impeccable table manners. However, on Sunday nights we were allowed to watch TV while eating dinner. Perhaps if you have one or two nights a week where your children can have fun(a carpet picnic, watching TV) and they know they can just be themselves, then maybe it will be easier to enforce the table manners on the rest of the days.

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Brandi - posted on 02/13/2009




You could start off in prayer and set the mood. By Thank our Lord for the dinner they are going to receive. Then ask each child to talk about something they are thankful for/or just how their day was in general. This is a great way you all  can interact in the conversation. Plus have a great family time dinner.

Good Luck to you!

Shelly - posted on 02/12/2009





  I guess you need to ask your self what is more important that your family is together at dinner time or that your children have good manners at dinner.  The only time that we ever required our children to use good table manners is when we were not at our dinner table and it worked out just fine.  You need to enjoy the time that you have while they are all at home because oh to soon they will start leaving home and oh then you will be wishing that you had those silly children sitting at your table.  My oldest has been out of our house for almost three yrs and our 2nd will be leaving in May.  And I miss the sillness around my table.  They grow up oh so fast just enjoy them for who they are.  Gods children.   

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Hi Jewelie,

We also struggle with this. My kids are 8, 6, 5, and 3. The youngest wants to immitate his brother (6) and he is a clown, so then the 2 of them get going and they get the girls going with laughter. I figure if they are enjoying themselves and time with the family it is a good thing. However, there are limits: you have to stay in your seat, sitting--not standing or sliding under; no yelling; and respect others and prayer time. If they are getting along and not fighting I am pretty relaxed. However, they also know that at someone else's house and when we are out they need to use all their manners. I sometimes wish for quieter mealtimes, but then I try to remember that I am thankful for my 4 wonderful, healthy children.

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