In advance of the holiday season, teach your child valuable dining do’s and don’t, instead of expecting them to be perfect guests at the table, using these simple tips. For more information see chapter 7 in socialsklz:-) for SUCCESS: How to Give Your Children the Tools to Thrive in the Modern World.
1/ Ready… Set… Set! The table, that is.
Using a stop watch or cell phone timer, have a table setting race among your family members. The first person with a perfect table setting gets to choose dessert, the mealtime playlist, or another prize! Be sure to teach children what a perfect table setting looks like: bread plate left of the meal plate, glasses to the right of the meal plate, 2 forks on the left, knife then spoon on the right, napkin under the forks, etc.
2/ Play “Police Officer”
After teaching kids your “house rules” for the table, elect a family member to be the “police officer” at one meal, blowing the whistle on offenses like: elbows on the table, eating food with fingers, reaching over someone for the salt, etc. This is a fun way to enforce mealtime manners in a way that feels like a game instead of just criticism.
3/ Have a fancy dinner night!
One evening, have a “fancy” dinner party with your family. Have everyone play dress-up, put on some music, and maybe even light some candles! Ask your children to set the table (with your guidance), before dining together. Take this opportunity to teach kids some of the important dining lessons throughout the meal such as: the proper way to manage utensils, siting up straight, chewing with mouth closed, waiting to speak until you’re finished chewing, etc.