It is important for us, as parents, to teach our children right now how to use proper decorum during family dinner time. Here are 5 ways you can help your kids succeed.
1. Start now
I advise parents to start with proper mannerisms at the table now. The best way to navigate the table setting is to practice, practice, practice. So right now, have your child help with setting the table. This will help them identify what their own place setting looks like when you are out and about.
2. Rehearse mannerisms on a regular basis
Practice their actual table manners. It is not a good time to train your child when guests are coming over or the family is going out for dinner. So, spend some time at home sitting down at the table and eating dinner together. Additionally, teach them to reverence times of prayer and words of expression respectfully.
3. Ban Technology
Make table time from here on out a technology-free zone. Sometimes we want to use our phones or tablets to entertain children but in reality such activities are retarding their social skills. It’s important for our children to learn how to eat and converse along with adults at the table. We should not allow our kids to “checkout” of the conversation and dinner that’s at hand while they focus on their electronic devices. We want to instead draw them into what is taking place.
4. Have a signal that says, “You’re out of line”
The best way a parent can correct a certain sort of behavior without drawing too much attention to the mistake itself is to right now think of some sort of signal that you can use to let your child know that they’re out of line. Some of us, growing up, remember getting “the look” that would cause us to sit up straight. In the same manner, create some sort of signal (i.e., touching the side of your nose, touching your chin, tapping the table) to let them know that they need to settle down.
5. Avoid embarrassment at all cost
If you do have to come out and correct the mistake, it’s important to not harshly chastise your child in front of other people because you certainly don’t want to embarrass them. If you can’t seem to get their attention, and maybe their behavior is just a little too far out of check, then excuse yourself and the child from the table without making a big fuss about it. Have a little talk with them and come back to the table when the issue is resolved. Don’t chastise in front of others because sometimes bad behavior coupled with embarrassment just equals more bad behavior from the child.