“My dad doesn’t allow talking at the table. He says dinnertime is eating time, not chatting time!”
This comment from a 7-year-old dinner guest was a surprise, to say the least! The Family Dinner Project is all about food, fun and conversation about things that matter, so naturally, we tend to think that chatting is a big part of what makes dinnertime worthwhile. But our young friend’s declaration was a great reminder that different families have different rules at the table, often for reasons we may not recognize right away.
Rules are great — as we’re often reminding our less-than-enthusiastic kids, they keep order when it’s needed, help us to understand what is and is not expected of us and help provide a sense of security as they create structures around everyday activities. But sometimes rules can feel difficult to manage (or follow), and can pull the joy out of our family time.
Are your dinner rules making the table a more comfortable place for everyone to gather…or are they taking the fun out of family time? There’s no perfect formula for rule-setting, and everyone has to determine what works best at their own table. Check out our tips for successful rule-setting to help you get started.
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May I be Excused, Please? The Origins of Table Manners »
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How to Make Your Toddler an Adventurous Eater and Cooperative Diner »
Meet the Darvicks, three generations keeping their family dinner traditions going in a new way!
Try this favorite recipe from our Family of the Month!
Practicing dinnertime rules and manners is more fun when you play Restaurant!
Speaking of rules…try this imaginative conversation starter!