Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Teaching Better Table Manners

I say the same three or four things over and over and over and over again each meal.

"Sit down."
"Take a bite."
"Lean forward."
repeat ad nauseam and occasionally throw in:
"No singing at the table, you're supposed to be eating."

One day I decided to put five pennies in front of each child's place.  I asked them what sort of things I have to tell them at the table.  They easily chanted off everything I repeat over and over at each meal, proving that they are listening to me, just not obeying all the time.  I told them that if I had to tell them something like that, I would remove a penny.  At the end of the meal, whatever pennies they had left would be theirs to keep.

We've done this a couple different times and had good success with it.  Tonight Lucy ate her meal in record time and cleared her plate and cup without being told!  (She's usually the one I have to remind to "Take a bite.")  Who knew would only take 15 cents for three better behaved children at the table?  If they get tired of the pennies, maybe I'll use chocolate chips occasionally.  This is actually a great motivator for me to keep my mouth shut too and not just repeat my phrases unless really necessary, because then I have to take a penny from them.

Do you have any fun ideas for encouraging better behavior?  We need to work on our bedtime routine and behavior too...


  1. oh, what an interesting idea... I find myself repeating over and over "sit down"

  2. I love this idea! Bedtime takes persistence, but my hubby has done well helping B(4) feel safe and happy at bedtime. After the jammies are on and ready we usually will let him do one more thing (play 15 min or something). Then we have a set amount of books to read, prayer, song, and lights out. If the routine is the same every night he usually does really well, but if we are interrupted it can get difficult.

  3. Do you get to eat the chocolate chips too? lol

  4. This seems like a really simple but effective idea! I constantly repeat myself at the table too, so I just might attempt to implement this here!

  5. Great idea, Christy! I tried something like this once for whining, or tantrums. It made the evening go much more smoothly. How is it that I don't remember to do it consistently, though?

  6. This is a great idea. I just started our bedtime routine to include an mp3 players for both kids. I had one sitting around and never used it. Then someone from my dh's work gave us one for the kids to use. This gave me the idea...I looked at my computer and found I had a program to record our voices. So I recorded some of me reading books, some of them reciting scripture memory and some of me reciting new scripture memory. Then I put it on the mp3 players and every night after prayers I let them listen to our recordings. It helps with them not calling me in twenty times after I say good night. I did find that they were picking and choosing what they wanted to listen to so I just started two nights ago that they have to listen to the new scripture memory verse first then they can choose. We will see if that works for memorizing it. Usually I just go over the new memory verse each day but since we are on summer schedule we will see how this works for them. Blessings to you.