Manner #18: No-No’s at the Table

Attention Getter: Elle drew a “No” symbol on  a brown paper bag.

Then I filled the bag with props: a straw, toothpicks, ice (in a baggie), harmonica (I wanted a whistle but couldn’t find mine), and the word BELCHING.

I asked the kids what the symbol on the bag meant and they said “Not Allowed” or “Don’t Do It”.   We talked about what is not allowed at the table.

Before dinner was served, I passed the bag around the table and the kids pulled out the props one at a time.  Then we discussed the manner that went with the prop. We kept passing the bag around the table until all the props were gone.

Manner: Toothpick– No picking your teeth at the table.

Ice– No crunching your ice and don’t put your hand in your glass and pull out ice.

Whistle/Harmonica– No blowing on your food. (Can you think of a better prop?)

Straw– No slurping your drink with your straw and no blowing bubbles.

Belch sign– No belching at the table.  (A belch to me, is a forced burp.  If a burp accidentally comes, say “pardon me”.)

Why: No-no’s at the table  just come down to courtesy for your dining neighbors and trying to keep the meal as quiet and respectful as possible.

Practice: My kids needed the most practice on not slurping out of straws so we made Orange Julius (a favorite Sunday tradition) and drank with straws.  We did our best to not make too much noise.

Thoughts: I blow on my kids food all the time and didn’t know that was a no-no until I started researching manners.  I was contemplating on the topic because I am not sure blowing on your food is that big of deal.  But as I thought about it, I realized it is really a matter of patience.  The only reason we blow on food is because we want to eat faster than the food’s temperature allows.  We can’t wait.

A lot of people think manners are not worth teaching because they are nit picky rules that don’t really matter.  I, of course, disagree.  To me manners are not about following rules but about developing worthwhile qualities and character.  When we wait to eat until everyone is served, when we don’t blow on our food, when we don’t chomp on our ice– we are really demonstrating patience, self-restraint, respect and awareness for others.  And those are the real benefits of knowing and using manners.

6 thoughts on “Manner #18: No-No’s at the Table”

  1. I blow on my childrens’ food all the time and tell them to do the same. Seriously, is that not ok? I suppose I don’t want them to do that when they are teenagers at a restaurant but isn’t it different with young children at home? (We also put ice cubes in our hot oatmeal, soup, etc. What do you make of that?) I love, love your ideas! Keep ’em coming!

    1. Kristine, I hear you. I still blow on my baby’s food. Now the problem is my other kids’ point it out and tell me I’m not supposed to do it. But I don’t want him to burn himself. Like you said we want to get away from blowing on food as they get older, so I encourage my kids to eat their fruits and veggies first, while the main dish cools down. And I do think ice is supposed to stay in the glass, (but we still put it in our Top Ramen). Pick your battles. This is low on my priority list for my kid’s to master.

      1. Thanks for sharing your thoughts about this. It gets me thinking about all the things we do just because we are not willing to wait. It makes me wonder if I need to do a better job as a mom to pad our routine with more time so I will be in a better position to teach them (and myself) patience.

  2. my dad told me instead of blowing on food, if you mix it around (gently) it cools faster. this of course only goes for the food that can mix around without it looking gross. other then that i guess you really do have to wait. and that a good way to learn how to be patient with every part of life.

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