Our blended family of six usually sits at the kitchen island for meals. Only steps away, our dining room table plays host to some stacks of homework.
With four boys in a variety of evening activities, dinner has become much more informal in these final weeks of school. Puppies run through the house, we shuttle kids from one practice to another. My oldest stepson finishes 8th grade soon and he has dinners, dances, and banquets.
Chaos was winning. Manners were losing.
My wife had a great idea. We needed to revive dinner in the dining room. Napkins. Silverware, Candles.
Waiting for everyone to sit before saying the prayer and eating. Elbows off the table. No talking with food in your mouth.
We did this last night, and had one of the best dinners we had had in weeks. We had a great conversation, lots of laughs, and everyone even ate their broccoli.
Granted, we did bribe them with pizookie (a decadent cookie dessert) if everyone behaved.
But, even without the dessert, the time at the table was more enjoyable for everyone. They proved to us and to themselves they had not forgotten how to act politely.
Looking at the family calendar, we may not all sit at the table again for several days, but we will do this again…pizookie or not.
What bad habits do you model at the dinner table? Have you ever sent your kid to bed without dinner for bad manners?