Mom's Guide to Dinner Table Behavior

Dear Boys,

Our home doesn’t appear to me to resemble a barn, but somehow our mealtime manners might lead people to believe that we live in one.  I’m not planning to start doing anything radical, such as requiring you to use a tablecloth and cloth napkins, but please take note of the following mealtime manners reminder.

  • The silver things next to your plate are called silverware or eating utensils.  You may call them either name, whichever makes you feel better about actually using them.  Fingers are good for pointing, drawing, and shooting a bow and arrow.  Fingers should not be used, however, for eating spaghetti or selecting the things that you like out of the soup.
  • I don’t generally fix any food that is “gross” or “disgusting,” so please do not use those words in reference to the meal you are served.
  • Your meat is not a popsicle.  Please do not spear a large piece of meat with your fork and then take bites off of it.  This applies to other food items as well, such as mashed potatoes.
  • We do not entertain others by showing them what food we are tasting with ketchup or salad dressing on it.  Ketchup is for meatloaf or chicken nuggets or hamburgers.  If you’d like to gross everyone out by trying ketchup on pear slices or carrot sticks, save it for when you are eating with your friends.  The Awana boys camp-out might be a great place for some of those tricks!
  • We do not announce our burps (or any other bodily functions) at the table.  Instead, we politely say “excuse me.” Likewise, we do not draw attention to the bodily functions of others.  This is not appetizing dinner table discussion.
  • Speaking of dinner table discussion, some things are better to talk about than others.  It’s good to talk about what we did in school, fun things that happened today, and how Daddy’s day was.  It’s not so good to talk about our scabs or what kind of roadkill we saw in the street, or to tell an endless account of our accomplishments on the Wii.
  • If you find yourself saying something that starts with, “Hey brother!  Watch this!” it’s probably not appropriate for the dinner table.
  • Your favorite stuffed animals can watch the meal from the other room.  They’ll be safer in there.  The multitude of spilled drinks that we seem to experience at each meal is just one of the many reasons that we don’t bring toys to the table.

Thank you for your participation in making meal time a pleasant experience for the entire family.  Your after meal clean-up skills are coming along nicely, and I’m sure that your dinner table manners will follow suit!


Your Mom


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  1. Erin Feb 21, 2013

    Oh my goodness, this is SO my life. Tonight I had to interrupt a detailed account by my oldest about what happened when his brother sneezed this morning . . .

  2. Allison Feb 22, 2013

    You are hilarious! I think that you hit the nail on the head! Enjoyed every word (and could picture my boys doing the same thing!)

  3. DawnJoy Feb 22, 2013

    Thank you for the laugh this morning. I laugh only because that is exactly what is needed here too. Pinning for future reference.

  4. Mandy K Feb 22, 2013

    Excellent! The only one missing for our house is "If your chewing can be heard OVER the conversations, please take smaller bites. Or eat outside."

    1. Sarah Feb 22, 2013

      Yes, that's a good one! I have actually sent my boys to eat outside before... On a good weather day, of course!

  5. Lydia Parks Feb 22, 2013

    As a mother of 4 boys, LAUGH! Thanks!

  6. Brandy Mulcare Feb 25, 2013

    As another mother of 4 boys - you make me feel so not alone! THANK YOU THANK YOU!!! Love every word!!

    1. Sarah Feb 26, 2013

      LOL - You're welcome! Us moms of all boys have to stick together!

  7. Eddie - The Usual Mayhem Feb 26, 2013

    Oh, the burps! We have been experiencing some serious manners malfunctions in this area lately as my oldest taught my youngest how to belch words. The amount of class at our house would amaze you.

  8. Kristalyn (Learning is Messy) Feb 26, 2013

    oh thank you so much for posting this. this is MY dinner table. i am so glad to hear i am not the only one with boys. do yours stand up while they eat? i look around and they are standing in their chairs. and i think "what in the world just happened here?" the stabbing the meat - um, yep. my husband comes home too late to eat with us and i have told him, "i have such a hard time enjoying eating with them." he asks, "why?" oh the list.

  9. Tamara Apr 16, 2013

    This is so great! Thoughtful, humorous, touching, smart, sweet...super cool way to impress the importance of manners with a nod to the young men they will be come!

  10. Linda T May 25, 2013

    So familiar sounding! I'm trying to get through to my 5 boys all these truths about meal times! I keep telling them I need them to have manners so that someone will marry them one day and take them off my hands! ;)

  11. T@SerenityFarm Feb 28, 2014

    This is our table too every night at dinner, but unfortunately my girls join in on this sometimes too. I read on another blog where she has a plastic pig on the table. The first person who exhibits poor table manners get the pig. Someone else does something it passes onto them. The last person to have the pig at the end of the meal has to clear the table. I think I will be looking for a pig for our table. It sounds like it might work or at least curb some behaviors we battle. Thanks for the chuckle.

  12. Bill Block Jul 1, 2014

    Might want to include: No getting up from the table between every bite. Please stay seated until meal is finished.

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