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How to Eat Dinner with Your Kids Without Losing Your Cool

Last week, we all gathered around the supper table to eat a delicious meal of roast chicken, baked potatoes and garden vegetables that we grew ourselves. The girls were so cute in their dresses and pinafores, and the boys had washed up from doing the barn chores…

Whatever. That’s what happened in Laura Ingalls Wilder’s Farmer Boy. In our house, it’s a little different.

First off, we don’t call it supper; it’s just dinner. We did eat roast chicken and baked potatoes and garden vegetables, but ours came from Aldi because really – we live in the city and I can’t grow veggies to save my soul. Oh, and the dresses and chores? Not even going there, people.

The other thing our family doesn’t have in common with the Wilder family is the fact that they all seemed so well-behaved at the dinner table. They asked politely for things to be passed, then WAITED for it to be passed. There was no burping, shoving, complaining that they didn’t like chicken or squash or bickering back and forth.

Now, probably some of that was slightly white-washed for the book, because not everyone can be perfect all the time, right? But it seems like sometimes the dinner table is the place to air all the grievance. And I mean ALL. OF. THEM.

My children can behave very well in public, I’ll give them that. Eating dinner at church each Wednesday or out at a restaurant occasionally, we often get compliments on how well behaved they are. And I’m very thankful for that. Is it too much to ask for the same thing at home? Obviously.

I’ve picked up a book on manners called “Dude, That’s Rude!” by Pamela Espeland that I’m hoping will help with that. Because surely they won’t grow up to be adults like that, right? Another thing we’ve started using, and love, is this little box with questions in it. Tabletopics includes 135 cards with different questions to help get conversation flowing. This particular box is geared towards families and kids, but there are numerous different categories; never end up at a fancy dinner party with nothing to say!

Maybe I have the wrong attitude about it. Maybe the dinner table is the place to make 7 different meals to suite seven different people, or to listen to them bicker with one another until they end up hitting each other. Maybe I should take down my snarky sign that’s sitting on the bar…nah. I’ll keep that, and keep working on table manners over here.

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If you’re in the middle of the same stuff, let me know what’s working for you! If you just want to grab the sign and let your kids know that you really don’t care if they like what you slaved over a hot stove for, grab it for free here!

(In the spirit of full disclosure, some of these are an affiliate link, which means that I may get a small referral commission if you decide to purchase anything. I only recommend products & systems that I use and love myself, so I know you’ll be in good hands.)

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