Teaching Children Manners at Meals

By Sarah Pachev

I got this idea from my friend Andrea Fowles from Dallas, Texas. She homeshcooled her children in kindergarten but did this fun activity with them after they were back in public school.

Once a week she would get together with a friend for dinner who also had several small children and do what they called, "Manners Meals". With all those kids at a table I'm sure it was as much out of desperation as it was an inspiring way to teach their children some manners.

When I did this with a friend of mine we would alternate turns hosting the lunches. She promised her children a fancy fun family dinner. I promised my children a dinner at a restuarant. Each incentive would give them an opportunity at the end of the "course" to display their newly obtained skills.

Here's how we did it:

  • Met for lunch at alternating houses for 2 months.
  • Wrote up a point chart listing different manners.
    • Saying Thank You
    • Saying Please
    • Using a napkin
    • Staying still in chair
    • Eating with mouth closed

One mom would serve while the other was the point keeper(it would be hard to do this by yourself). We also asked the children to wait patiently while the mom's had their food.

Afterwards we would let the children play and we had a lovely time. Sometimes now over a year later my children still remember the manner's meals and remind eachother!!


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