Meal times should be a time of peace and not chaos. We have had to work many times over the years to train our children in the “fine art of table manners.” This is a time that we consistently help them work at being able to sit at a table for a long period of time and be considerate of those around them.
I have a lot of little ones and it gets loud. Sometimes too loud to want to even eat. They are constantly all wanting to talk and interrupt each other, so it is a daily reminder to wait their turn. Things we work towards achieving at each meal:
- The loudness factor. Lowering our voices while talking and waiting our turns as to not interrupt.
- Chewing with their mouths closed and not talking with food in their mouths.
- Not asking for more unless all of their food is eaten on their plate.
- Not getting up and getting their own food, asking first.
- Taking drinks while eating—they could go a whole meal and not drink.
- Asking the host, if they may be excused before leaving the table—we are working on this 🙂
Now that the second group of children are getting older, we like to work at having conversations around the table. This is something that maybe everyone does already, but in our home, it is more of eat and keep moving kind of time. When the older set was younger we did conversational starters. You place them in a jar and during meal time, reach in and grab a “starter” and everyone gets a chance to respond.
As a family, we have gone through our starters many times and now we have new questions to ask each other.
I have two separate question groups, one for the younger and one for the older children. Print them off and cut them into strips. Fold them up, and place in a decorative container near your table. Let someone choose a ‘starter” to get the conversation going for dinner.
This is something that my children look forward to doing at every meal.
Have a blessed day today!