Introduction:In days gone by, teachable moments for kids around the dinner table were an everyday occasion. Today, family members are scattered and rarely enjoy a sit-down meal together.
It is unfortunate for all concerned that this family ritual is no longer honored. As a result, both kids and parents lose valuable opportunities to teach and learn. My aim is to point out teachable moments, with the anticipation, that at least one or two nights a week schedules can be juggled to accommodate a family meal around the dinner table.
Families should gather around the dinner table with the expectation of a peaceful meal and meaningful conversation. But, when there are two or more children, excited voices will raise several decibels, everybody will try to talk at the same time and heated arguments are certain to manifest.
Verbal sparring between siblings could lead to hitting each other with forks or even food fights. At a minimum, if this behavior is allowed, kids will disrespect each other and the parents.
Parents would do well to make the number one rule of dining: no squabbling at the dinner table. Valid concerns should be "tabled" until everyone finishes their meal. Then, it is the parental responsibility to follow through and mediate the problems.
When parents make it a priority to gather together at dinnertime, kids will see the value of family sharing and caring. In essence, parents are reinforcing that family is more valuable than football, friends or flute lessons.
Eating as a family also teaches the value of honoring commitments. When the entire family commits to dinner at seven o'clock, they show respect for the person who prepares the meal and respect for the other family members' time and tummy. This sets a foundation for children to honor commitments throughout life.
Helping to set the table, taking turns to talk and listening while another family member speaks are all lessons in the value of teamwork. Waiting for their turn to share their day teaches patience.
At its' core essence, every family is a team. But, a team can only work together when it is together. Instead of fragmented parenting, parents can address teachable moments to all the children at one time, in one place.
It is most perplexing that good manners seem to have flown out the window simultaneously with grab-and-go meals. What better place could be found to instill manners in children than around the dinner table?
Teachable moments around the dinner table could begin as simple as learning when to say "please" and "thank you". Later, the children can be taught to spread the napkin in their laps, which fork to use when and how to pass food around the table.
Boys can transition to gentlemen by learning to pull the chair from the table to seat their mom and sisters. Pretend sessions could be held to teach the children to handle themselves in various social situations.
Kids learn by repetition. Consider starting a gratitude attitude conversation each time you gather around the dinner table.
Instead of grunts and groans, everyone will share one blessing about their day. The shared blessings should not include gratitude for material things. Our society focuses too much on materiality. Instead of, "I'm grateful for my new green backpack" an appropriate blessing might be, "I'm grateful to mom for cooking this delicious dinner".
Parents should enhance teachable moments with good manners and subtle questions. "Thank you Tim. What in particular did you enjoy about tonight's dinner?"
I just wanted to re read this valuable information.thank you
Back with another h5
I grew up this way but it seems to be rare these days. Hope it comes back!
Awesome list about moments around the dinner table. H5
The family dinner table is indeed a wonderful opportunity for "teachable moments" and family time as your list points out. Great list!
What great advice about dinner time behavior. Thanks for writing such a thoughtful list. :)
Excellent list of ways to behave at the dinner table and always.
Your family values are pin pointed as they should be to enhance everyones life. Well presented with strength and wisdom. Parents in #1 have to put the boundaries in place so all the delight can be enjoyed and other meals can be fully had by all in the future too.
A dear and lovely list. H5!
select one here...