How do you enforce table manners in your house?

Last night my son (he's 5) kept jumping around and playing with his toys at the table. I got upset (only because my boyfriend has a problem with having toys at the table and because I don't want my son to choke from jumping around (the toys issue doesn't really bother me)) and tooks his toys away. My son was upset and trying to make a deal with me that if I gave his toys back, he would eat. I hate to see my son cry, so I talked him into eating a little and then gave his toys back. My bf was mad and criticizing me. What would you do differently?


Asked by Anonymous at 11:11 AM on Mar. 18, 2009 in Preschoolers (3-4)

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Answers (23)
  • I wouldn't have given him his toys back until he was done and not at the table. I agree with your bf, toys do not belong at the table.

    Answer by dakotaNrye at 11:13 AM on Mar. 18, 2009

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  • I agree with BF, sorry. We don't allow toys at dinner table. This is the time to talk about your day or whats going on. I have a 5 yr old too, so i know how it is. Just warn him ahead of time, the dinner table is for eating and talking. This way he is prepared ahead of time. Even if you don't have much to talk about, tell jokes. Keep him interested. This worked for me and my kids always have a story to share at dinner time. Good luck.

    Answer by mamaada at 11:15 AM on Mar. 18, 2009

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  • Your BF is right. He should never go to the table with toys. It is the time we use to talk as a family. Not play time.
    Teaching your kids manners is a good thing, Do not feel bad if he cries this is how kids control us parents.

    Answer by gammie at 11:17 AM on Mar. 18, 2009

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  • Is your BF the father of your son? If so, he should have just handled it himself if his rules are so important to him instead of making you do it and then criticizing you for doing it wrong. If he is NOT his father than he has no say in anything that you do with your son and, to be honest, should keep his mouth shut or go find somewhere else to be served dinner.

    Answer by gramsmom at 11:21 AM on Mar. 18, 2009

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  • I agree with your BF there should not be toys at the table. The table is for eatting as a family.
    when our kids act up we put them in time out and have them watch us eat at the table.
    The get a second chance to come back to the table and eat with manners if not they stay in the chair. We tell them they are to sit there and watch how you are suppose to behave at the table.

    Answer by Dannee at 11:31 AM on Mar. 18, 2009

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  • Gramsmom- I am assuming that even if her bf isn't the father they live together so he should have a say of what goes on in his house.

    Answer by dakotaNrye at 11:35 AM on Mar. 18, 2009

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  • The BF should be intitled to an opinion, but he shouldn't be making her sons parenting choices,once they are married and it is a permanent situation then he should be involved in parenting choices. If the child is in danger of hurting himself he can have a say, but if it is a matter of parenting and opinions...sorry, I don't think so.

    I have no problem with one toy at the table for the younger kids, so long as they stay involved in the conversation, aren't being overly disruptive and are eating thier food. If they can't do that the toy goes, my kids have good table manners (as I have been told more times then I can count) but it has never been something that we fight or struggle over. Dinner should be enjoyable for all, including them, so I have choosen to teach them but not demand that they do it my way.

    To me the dinner table is about enjoying time with my kids, eating is just what we are doing while we cont....

    Answer by luckysevenwow at 11:45 AM on Mar. 18, 2009

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  • are sitting there. It doesn't have to be all or nothing. BF has the problem with it, not you and YOU are his mother.

    Answer by luckysevenwow at 11:46 AM on Mar. 18, 2009

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  • Toys are not allowed at our table. If the kids use bad table manners I correct it then. I would never allow jumping around in the first place. You need to be firm and consistent with your son. Decide what rules you will have and stick with them. I say toys should go, but it's your house, definitely stop the jumping around, though. Giving in to him just teaches him that he can get what he wants by misbehaving.

    Answer by mlregalado at 12:06 PM on Mar. 18, 2009

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  • For 1 NO toys at the dinner table period at my house... dinner is a time for family and small talk of the day...
     Take the toys away... set him at the table and tell him to eat his dinner and then he can go play afterwards..
     Your Bf has the right to be upset... playing at the table can cause food spills, and is a disruption.. you need to set rules up for your son for dinner or meal times which includes NO toys at the table, he needs to understand there is a time for play and a time for other things without toys...
    As long as you keep giving in to him you are only teaching him that if he crys he gets what he wants... and that misbehavior is ok...


    Answer by gmasboy at 12:38 PM on Mar. 18, 2009

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