After Juris Mater’s great post on Body Language, I started thinking about manners at the dinner (or breakfast or lunch) table in our home. I have received the advice that while children are young, we certainly want to instill good manners, but should strive to do so in a way that engages them and makes sense to them on their level. The idea is that we want our children to associate mealtime with pleasant family conversation and delicious food, rather than a stressful experience where their every movement is scrutinized.To this end, my husband had the great idea of phrasing some of our mealtime rules in the form of catchy rhymes. We sat around the dinner table one night a couple of months ago and came up with a couple of phrases as a family. Here are a few ideas – please share your own!
“Food on the floor becomes your chore” – i.e. if you spill food while you’re eating, you will be cleaning it up after the meal
“Red rover, red rover, be sure to lean over” – pretty self-explanatory, but “red rover, red rover” sounds much less confrontational than “Lean over your plate!”
“Toys at a meal, mom and dad will steal” – i.e. if you bring your Lego creation to the table, it will be quickly pocketed by mom or dad
What other ideas do you have? Do you think that this approach might work for your family? If so, sit around the dinner table and see what your children come up with – you might be surprised at their cleverness!