Dinner ettiquite in my house had gone down hill. I remember as a child we would all sit at the table and eat as a family every night. We would ask to pass things by using the words please and thank you. We would chat about our day, but of course our mouths would not be full. And when we were finished eating we would ask if we could be excused.
As we got older that became less and less important as we rushed through meals to make practice, parties, do homework, study, whatever the next thing on the to-do-list was. But now that I have a family of my own I want to try and reinforce my dinner etiquette rules so that my children can have those wonderful family dinner memories that I had. And to prepare them for successful meals and dinner conversations in the future.
We have started this by sitting at the table. Not in the living room with plates perched on our knees. We sit down every night together. If someone needs to be somewhere we eat earlier or later. I make a point to ask about my husband’s day. My daughter doesn’t quite communicate how her day was… yet. And the tv must be off! We don't have a tv in the kitchen, but we can see the one in the living room. So we had gotten into a bad habit of watching tv while eating. No longer!
But here is our biggest struggle. Phones. Computer. iPad. They all seem to be present at our table. This is a major no no and totally distracts from the valuable family time and causes our conversations to come to a hault. So we have made it a rule, no electronic devices at dinner. No, we can’t check the Yankees score. Those e-mails will be there when you finish. Your crops won’t wither in Farmville in the next 15 minutes.
The no devices at dinner is right up there with please and thank you. There’s nothing ruder than sitting across from someone whose nose is in a phone, computer, or something else. Dinner etiquette is a time old tradition that has gone by the way side. Practice good etiquette as a model for your children. This way, when they have their families they will look back and remember what was important and what made a difference in their day. And hopefully it will inspire them to reinforce their own etiquette rules. Besides, could you imagine sending your child to eat at a friends and have them not say please or thank you? Or take out their phones! Yikes!
“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.”