Manner #5: Proper Posture at the Dinner Table
Attention Getter: The kids came to the table and found a letter (the alphabet kind, not the Dear kids kind) on their plate. I had written each letter of the word ‘posture’ on a different sticky note. The goal was to have them work together to unscramble the word. I had to give a few clues like “it has to do with your back”, but my oldest one figured it out. Then she sounded it out while my younger ones found the letters to match. Once we spelled ‘posture’ we discussed what the word meant in general. Then we applied it to the table. (My kids channeled Vanna in this picture.)
Manner: Here is what we learned: You should sit about 3-5 inches from the table. I had the kids estimate what 3-5 inches looked like. We actually got out a ruler and decided it is about a hands width away. This comparison gave them a way to check themselves in any dining situation. Also, sit up straight and don’t use the back of the chair. Legs should not be crossed and if possible feet should be flat on the floor. If you need to lean, bend at the waist. Bring your food to your mouth, not your mouth to the food. (I caught my daughter with her mouth on the edge of the plate just shoveling the scrambled eggs (it was that kind of day) into her mouth. She bypassed any air.)
Why: Good posture diminishes mess (In theory that is- I am daily baffled my how much food still makes it on the floor and the seat of the chair where a bum was sitting- the picture does not do the mess justice.)Correct posture aids in digestion. And it just looks less neanderthal to sit up straight rather than to bend down over your plate. If your feet are flat on the floor, you won’t kick your neighbor (and we all could use one less sibling fight at dinner).
Practice: We actually sat too far back and too close and tried eating so the kids could see the difficulties. Each night I had them check their distance from the table with their hand just so they could get used to it.
Follow-Up: Dad was not there the night we initially talked about posture. So I had the kids act as the parents and teach dad on another night later in the week. They all shared something they knew about posture. My daughter busted out the ruler and my son made sure dad’s back was not touching the back of the chair. They did a great job teaching dad (despite the fact that dad was a difficult student).