Table manners?

Oh, we're done with all that vegetable-steaming and mess, our children are cutlery-wielding, spaghetti-chomping angels... at least some of the time.

Table manners?

Postby cloudcuckoo » 21 Oct 2012, 13:53

Not sure if I'm expecting too much, but I am finding DD1's table manners exasperating. She is 5. Hands get wiped on clothes, cutlery is eschewed, she is incapable of sitting nicely at the table for more than 3 seconds, food gets put on the table instead of the plate.... I can cope with noty using quite the right cultlery all the time, but the mess on the table and the clothes is spectacular. We've had some really embarrassing restaurant trips and extended family meals. I don't mind the two year old making a major mess, but at five it's getting time to get to grips with things. And where big sister leads, little sister follows.

Anyone got any tips? I've been looking for a visual printable that I could put in the kitchen as a reminder, but I can only find verbal ones, and many of the resources out there are very prescriptive/ godly/ not to UK norms. What else can I do?
Two girls, Bug (2010) and Bobs (2007) in the cloud-nest, and a boy, Boo, too (February 2014)
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Re: Table manners?

Postby jvnt » 21 Oct 2012, 14:15

I don't know but you have my sympathy, it wasn't until I really started with table manners with The Boy that I realised just how many there are and how often the seem inconsistent or unreasonable to a small person. It's hard to imagine a strong visual that would cover it all because it seems like every time I work on one thing he comes up with some other random wierdness that I have to ban. I just go with incessant nagging.
jvnt, mother to The Boy, August '09, Baby Dragon, January '12 and HP May '14.
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Re: Table manners?

Postby Aggie » 21 Oct 2012, 15:38

I too have been thinking about this recently. B will not use cutlery for dry food, ie. he only uses it for saucey food such as spag bol, curry, etc. It's not a massive deal to us at the moment but I would like him to at least make some effort. We would also like him (within reason) to sit at the table until everyone else has finished (I think this was someone's non-negotiable, can't remember who) but often the whining and crying to get down means it's not worth it.
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Re: Table manners?

Postby cloudcuckoo » 21 Oct 2012, 21:12

Extra ice cream with pudding as bribery worked quite well this evening... :? :oops:
Two girls, Bug (2010) and Bobs (2007) in the cloud-nest, and a boy, Boo, too (February 2014)
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Re: Table manners?

Postby CPinho » 23 Oct 2012, 13:11

How about assigning her the very important task of teaching table manners to her younger sister? You can say something about how your two-year old makes a mess and ask you oldest if she wouldn't like to teach her how to sit still, use cutlery and stuff like that, adding that role-modelling is what works best? I don't know, I am totally inexperienced since my DD is only 19 months, but from what I have seen children love to be in charge and be responsible for some important task...
Mum to R, born March 2011, and S & I, born October 2013
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Re: Table manners?

Postby Seriously_Nutty » 23 Oct 2012, 13:19

You're not expecting too much at all. Arch is 4yo and doesn't make any mess at the table unless he has a genuine accident. He isn't brilliant with his cutlery but he's pretty good.

I would approach it like any unwanted behaviour; praise a tidy table, good cutlery skills etc and ignore the unwanted. Really awful, deliberate behaviour (dropping, throwing food etc) I would send them away from the table for.
“You can learn many things from children. How much patience you have, for instance.” - Franklin P. Jones
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