Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Teaching Kids Proper Etiquette

This all started a few months back when at the end of a long day I just needed a break from the laundry, housework, cooking, all of it and so my husband and I decided to take the family out to dinner.  To put it nicely...it was not a super experience.  My five year old felt the need to talk at the very TOP of his lungs whenever he had a thought or idea which seemed to be every other second.  He also decided to very randomly knock his whole body into the back of the seat causing the people on the other side to continually look in our direction with 'that' look--Hopefully I'm not the only one who has ever seen 'that' look.  My older son (7 years old) was also a chatter-box but only felt like talking when his mouth was absolutely as full as possible and he felt the need to wipe his hands on everything EXCEPT his napkin--leaving his brand new school clothes covered in pizza sauce.  All the while my baby cried and whined to his hearts content!!  So...by the time we left I was FAR MORE frazzled than I was beforehand and vowed to never EVER take these kids out again!  Please tell me I am not the only mom who this has ever happened to.  I felt like a failure of a mother and ended up staying up all night long thinking of how I could 'FIX' this problem!  I did come up with an idea and got up the next morning (with fingers crossed) and got to work finding the necessary items to put my idea into reality.  Anyway, I found these cute little ramekins (so glad that I finally found a good use for them) and some decorative marbles.  I used one ramekin per member of the family and put ten little marbles inside.
That evening before dinner we had a little family counsel to discuss what the word etiquette means and together we came up with our family rules of etiquette.  It was so interesting to me to see that my boys came up with and knew most of the etiquette rules that we discussed.  They thought it was fun coming up with them and actually continued thinking of them all through dinner that night and throughout the whole next week.  Then, after discussing the rules of etiquette I walked the boys to the kitchen table where the ramekins were sitting, one ramekin on each of our placemats (mom and dad as well.) I went on to tell the boys how our new 'game' was played--Every time any of us do not follow the etiquette rules a marble is taken out of our ramekin.  In order to get dessert at the end of the day we must have at least one marble in our ramekin; this marble can be traded in for dessert.  NO MARBLE = NO DESSERT!  The first couple of nights we had some sad, dessertless children but soon they would end the night with 4 or 5 marbles left over.  Once this started happening on a regular basis I would start the day with fewer and fewer marbles (leaving the boys less room for mistakes).  Now, two months later we have only 2 marbles to start off the day!!  And, my boys almost always earn dessert.  They have gotten so much better and learned so much through all of this that we went out as a family again the other night and it was blissful!!  The boys used their manners and remembered their etiquette rules the whole time and I left the restaurant with a HUGE smile on my face!!  This really worked for us but it does take persistence!  Maybe I am the only one with this problem out there but if by chance you find yourself in a similar situation-give the 'etiquette jars' a try; it might be just the thing you are looking for. 
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6 comments:

Dixie Delights said...

great idea!

Herballistic Garden said...

That was very clever! Good for you and I'm glad you can relax when you go for dinner now...As a mom who raised 5, I know it can be difficult. xo wendy

Our Delightful Home said...

Great idea.

~Mrs. Delightful
ourdelightfulhome.blogspot.com

Charissa said...

Nice idea, Marcy.

THE FARMHOUSE PORCH said...

You are NOT the only one! I hate taking the kids out to eat. I will try this...great idea!!

♥Linsey

Heidi said...

My kids are so unpredictable...the little ones anyway! I just usually try and bring along lots of little activities and snacks to keep them happy. Good idea though...always have to be consistent!!

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