Our family is working to build better habits, and I’m sharing them with you each week through the Family Boot Camp series. This week my focus is on sitting properly at the table as well as good table manners in general.
To be honest, I’m not sure when our girls developed the bad habit of getting up from the table early, walking around while they eat or just doing everything but sitting properly at the table, but it’s definitely gotten a little out of hand. We don’t have this problem when we eat out — which we really enjoy doing as a family — so I know they’re capable of sitting at the table properly; we just haven’t enforced it at home.
Sitting properly at the table is important for a number of reasons:
- It gives us time to sit and focus on each other as a family, and I want the girls to practice that with each other even when Sean and I aren’t sitting down with them (which we don’t always do for breakfast or lunch).
- It creates less mess.
- It’s just plain good manners.
- It keeps the baby sitting in her seat rather than tempting her to declare, “I’m done!” just because she wants to join her big sisters.
Unfortunately, this is one we’ve been working on for the past few months, and it’s still a struggle. The girls finish lunch and one pops up to go look at something and next thing I know they’re all trailing after her, with the baby carrying her grilled cheese in her hand and leaving a trail of crumbs wherever she goes.
I don’t know if it’s because our kitchen table is a picnic table, but I’m also constantly chanting things like: “Sit down. Face the table. Sit on your bottom. Feet under the table.” They like to stand at the end of the table, turn around and face the opposite direction (that’s definitely a product of having bench seats since it wouldn’t be so easy in a regular chair), and walk around while they eat.
For our family, we’re just focusing on consistency and frequent reminders. I’m hoping the habit portion of this will kick in at some point — or perhaps they’ll simply outgrow it — and it won’t be a constant struggle.
Next up: Keeping the girls room neat and uncluttered.
I’d love to hear your tips as well! Have you dealt with bad habits at the table? Do you have any tips for getting kids to stay in their seats and sit properly?