Dinnertime can really feel like the beginning of the popular classic A Tale of Two Cities: It was the best of times; it was the worst of times. We have all been in a dinnertime scenario where we see our beautiful child smear mustard or ketchup all over their shirt giving new meaning to the words graphic tee. How do we get through eating dinner without so much chaos and better table manners so we can get ready for bed and plop down on our cozy 1800mattress.com? The answer is simple, with a little planning and practicing your children will be ready for those upcoming holiday meals.
Using Napkins Instead of Shirts
Teaching children not to smear sauces all over their clothing and remain drip free can seem like an impossible task. Even for some of the older kiddos. The first thing to recognize is, it is easier for kids to wipe their hands of face with the shirt or pants they are wearing. Try giving them a napkin, paper towel, wet wipe, to use instead. This will help considerably. Also if things are still getting sticky, try having them take their shirt off, pants if necessary to avoid more laundry.
Not Complaining About What Has Been Prepared
Everyone at some point has had a child complain about what has been put in front of them to eat. It can be a uphill battle that can feel like a war zone. Try helping your child to know how much time and effort goes into making what has been prepared. Also this may be a good time to show your children what it looks like to truly go hungry. Also express that if they truly don’t want what is prepared when going out to help them say things like:
No Thank You
Maybe I will try some next time if that is okay
I don’t mean to hurt your feelings, but I don’t like the texture, Otherwise it tastes good
Helping your child to express a better way to say they think something is gross, yucky, disgusting will go a long way without them having to lie about it.
Passing Food Around The Table
Teaching children how to say please and thank you while having someone pass the food around will help them to communicate better with those surrounding them at the table. It is also a good idea to help them understand to not just reach for something, especially when they reach over someone else’s plate or personal space. Help them to understand that this is an inconvenience and also considered rude. Place mats can be a great idea for having that be their space and not to go outside of it.
Chewing With Their Mouth Open
The best thing to help children do is to show them what size bite to take. If that means cutting up their food to show them the size they should be eating. Doing so will help them to take smaller bites of food and not struggle to have their mouths open while eating. It is nice to have a signal to help them remember to close their mouths while eating. Also if they are worried they won’t have a chance to talk. Let them know to finish chewing what is in their mouth and then give them your full attention when they do so.
Using An Indoor Voice
Children have so much news to talk about and also want to tell you about their day. How much fun they had playing with friends, a silly song they learned at school, or what happened at soccer practice. Sometimes they forget to use their indoor voices and it can make for a loud dinner. Help your child to know you are paying attention when they talk and that you care. Try making a game where everyone whispers to see if everyone can hear the person talking quietly. You pass around a special object that lets that person talk.
Time With Your Children
With today’s busy world and dinner only lasting 20 minutes, take time to really connect with your family. Dinnertime is one of the best things you can do for your children. And make your house a home.
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