Kids’ Table Rules

If we want our kids to respect meal time, they need to know what the expectations are. Let’s all channel some Moses and get The Laws up for everybody to see.
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Moses assembled all the congregation of the people of Israel and said to them, “These are the things that the Lord has commanded you to do.” Exodus 35:1

I got my chalk-board paintin’ Pinterest on and sprayed an old mirror from the garage just for the job.
Husband: You do know that was an antique mirror you just ruined, right?
Me: (Nope. Whoops!) Not ruuuuiiiined, honey. Repurposed. It had a sad life in the garage and now it will be put to good use every day.

So that’s how that went down. But, truthfully, it does serve a good purpose every day. The rules are there, right next to the table, and the kids know what I expect. It doesn’t mean our meal times are without pain, drama, and messiness. See how my son is slurping down his onion like it’s a noodle? That would be a violation of the Eat With Utensils rule. But, hey, he’s eating onions, not white pasta noodles, so I cut him some slack.
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When I really want to amp things up, I pull out the Dinner Report Card. Each kid has the same check list of expectations next to his/her dinner plate and every body at the table is in on the grading. Want compliance?  Put your kids in charge of grading each other. Nobody wants to be called out by the other. At the end of the week, whoever had the best report cards gets to pick the movie for movie night. The stakes are high, people.
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My favorite rule is the last one: Thank The Server. Whether that’s me, a friend’s mom, a waiter, or grandparent…I want the meal to end with appreciation. Not sure I’ve ever heard anything so sweet as when my four-year-old says, “Thank you for this meal, Mommy.”    My friend, Jen, says she likes the No Rude Noises rule. We both have 2 boys… rude noises are in our wheelhouse.

These rules don’t have to be your rules. Decide what serves your family best and let them know. When your kids ask what’s up with the new list of rules – it’s a great time to share the story of the 10 Commandments and how we all have rules.

And the Lord said to Moses, “Write these words, for in accordance with these words I have made a covenant with you and with Israel.” Exodus 34:27

So what am I missing? What are your table rules?

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