Thursday, February 10, 2011

Dinner Time Etiquitte #KraftHomestyle

How often do you sit down and have dinner as a family? It used to be that was the only way to do it, but now everybody is so busy that it is not that common anymore. Not every night's schedule allows my family to have dinner together - Wednesday's are pretty much out of the question for the remainder of this semester, and Mondays and Fridays are if-y through this semester as well. The rest of the nights of the week are a different story, I believe that sitting down and having dinner as a family is very important for a few reasons.
One of the reasons that it is important that my family sit down to eat dinner as a family is that children learn from their parents -- manners, priorities, healthy eating, EVERYTHING. By turning off the television, not being on the phone, putting down the iPod, leapster, and whatever else and focusing on the family helps reinforce to children that they are important and that the family (as a unit) is important. When supper is a sit-down  event, children get to see how and what their parents eat and they learn about the food-groups and portioning - yes, without even talking about the pyramid. :)
My children love vegetables! One night I fixed corn as the vegetable with dinner. Natalie was about 18 months old at the time, she was getting pretty good at using her fork. She was having some problems eating her corn with her fork. Zack and I both asked her is she wanted help, of course being the independent little lady that she is, she refused the help. We kept eating, and she started watching how everyone else was eating their corn. After about a minute, she realized that Emily had a bit of trouble too and switched to her spoon. AH-HA moment!! I believe that if we were not all sitting there together and Natalie had not had the opportunity to observe how the rest of the family managed to do something that she could not she probably would have given up and used her fingers. Kids are always watching, they are learning from what the people around them do, and the breakfast/lunch/dinner table is no exception! So my advice for all of us is to always use the manners that we expect our children to use!
The most important part of meal time at our house is prayer. Having the prayer before we begin eating servers a dual purpose - thanking God for being a great provider AND making sure that we are all seated and ready to eat before anybody starts eating. That is one of the things that we have the hardest time with, getting the kids to wait to eat until everybody is ready! As they are getting a little older, they understand better that they have to wait until after we pray to start eating, telling them to wait for everyone to be ready did not always work. :)
There are days when we might go through a drive thru or just have a pizza when it has been a busy day. On those days we tend to eat at the table in the living room. I notice that all though most of the same manners are used, not all are. So that is one thing that really does not work well for our family as far as great dinner time etiquette.
One huge piece of advice that I would give to parents is to have your child(ren) help in some way. Whether it is with dinner preparation, setting the table, even if it is just putting a napkin by each plate, have them help. I know that, for my children, when they feel involved and have a sense of pride in their accomplishment, they enjoy dinner time more and are more likely to use good manners without having to be reminded!!
What are some of the things that work at your house? What is your meal time etiquette, any do's and don'ts that you would like to share? I am always interested in more ways to teach the girls manners and enjoy meal time!!

I wrote this blog post while participating in the SocialMoms and Kraft Homestyle Macaroni and Cheese blogging program, for a gift card worth $50. For more information on how you can participate, click here.


  1. We are ALL about having good manners at the table at our house. Our 4 kiddos are now between 5 and 9... and sometimes it hard for little people to navigate all the silverware. One thing we started doing FOREVER ago when we have spaghetti is, cutting up all of the noodles in the kids' bowls with kitchen shears. It's LOADS faster than using a knife OR trying to get them to do the noddle twirl move on their forks! A few well placed smips through the whole pile = less mess AND better manners for the little ones.
    Prayer time is huge for us too, for the exact same reasons... having a thankful heart AND making sure everyone's there before we start grubbin'!
    I got your comment earlier and am following you now too! :)
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  2. Thanks for stopping by my blog! Also, I completely agree with having the kiddos help. My girls love to help! I'm hoping that even as they get older, helping will be so much a part of the routine that they won't start complaining about it. I also think that when kids help and realize how much goes into preparing and cleaning up after a meal they are just a little more appreciative.


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