Monday, October 15, 2012

Teaching Through Play: Table Manners Game from the Blogosphere

By John and Diane.

In our blog post Importance of House Rules/Chore Lists for kids with Trust Disorders and RAD   we have talked about house rules and how having clearly defined rules help kids know their boundaries and what your expectations are. This is vital, especially for households with impulsive children like those with ADD or ADHD or RAD.

In a recent posting on True Aim Education, blogger  shares a Manners game that uses rules for tables manner as a foundation, then practices the rules by playing a game.

In her blog post, she makes clear that although in the game, children are allowed (and its extra fun) to correct Mom and Dad on manner-errors during play, that it is only acceptable during the game and for the purposes of learning. That, and some of her other tips are important to remember and talk with the kids about in order to make this game a good tool to improve behavior and not create new-bad play with adults.

Check out the post and try it out for yourself!

Pass the Manners, Please!

table manners for children

The only thing more annoying than eating with a family that has rude children, is being the family with the rude kids.  It happened to me only once, but it was traumatic enough for me to solemnly swear, "Never again!"

Humiliation is Served

By now beads of perspiration spotted my brow.  The dinner conversation was taking its toll.  "Audrey, please stop yelling at the table... Audrey, please sit up... For goodness sake, take smaller bites... You are talking with your mouth full again...  Didn't I say stop yelling?...  Hey, get out from under the table... Put that dessert back until you finish your meal...Did you just spit your food out on the table?... How about saying please first...Stop reaching, you're going to spill your... Great, you spilled your milk all over the table... It is not funny, Audrey!"

I could feel the judgmental glare from the other guests piercing me and I could hear their disgruntled thoughts.  Half were thinking, "Geez, lay off. She is just a kid and you sound like a broken record," while the other half thought, "For crying out loud, why don't you spank that little monster."  I imagined the two groups both thought, "What a bad parent and what a miserable dinner party!"  The pressure was taking its toll.  I just wanted dinner to be over so I could hide myself.
Finally, it all came to a head.  My lovely daughter was yelling down the table for the umpteenth time.  By now everyone, including me, was sick of hearing my voice.  So, I decided to causally remind her to quiet down by tapping her leg under the table.  I stretched out my foot and gave a light tap.  She didn't even blink – to excited to feel the nudge.  I stretched out again and kicked slightly harder.  Nothing.  I was determined to secretly get her attention, so I slid down in my seat giving myself enough reach to give her a good solid kick.  Unfortunately, the kick was very solid, a little too solid.  Audrey gasped, her eyes welded up with tears.  I held my breath.  Then the flood gates burst open and she started to wail, "Mommy kicked me!  Why did Mommy kick me?"  She was inconsolable and I was utterly humiliated, so I threw in the towel.  I smiled politely and excused myself.  On the way out, in a last ditch effort to save face, I made a classic parental excuse for my child's poor behavior.  Looking very puzzled I claimed, "I don't understand.  She never acts this way – she is probably just overly tired.  She hasn't had a nap today."  Then I tucked my tail and left.

The Game Changer

Luckily, that was a long time ago.  It is now my pleasure to take my children out with me.  Everywhere I go I get genuine compliments on how well-mannered my daughters are.  In fact, now if there is any embarrassment it is that my girls make their mother look ill-mannered in comparison.  I attribute their dramatic transformation to a silly little game I came up with called, "The Manners Game."
The Manners Game is very simple.  Each family member gets three Popsicle sticks, or other reward, to put on their place mat.  Before the game commences, go around the table and have everyone recite a few "Table Manner Rules."  After that, you are ready to begin.  If one family member sees someone breaking a "Table Manner Rule" he gets to take one of their Popsicle sticks.  Whoever has the most Popsicle sticks at the end of the dinner wins.  My kids love this game.  It is the only time they are "authorized" to correct Mom and Dad.  You can make the game more fun by intentionally making a few "manner mistakes" and then pretending to be shocked and outraged when your children correct you.  They will love it!
Read the rest of the article here: True Aim

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