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Is 18 months too early to introduce gentle table manners?

(6 Posts)
showtunesgirl Thu 13-Jun-13 19:37:39

I'm not talking about which fork to use and how to use a napkin but just general behaviour at the dinner table.

Earlier this evening, when DD was having her dinner she started picking up her cup and loudly banging it on her high chair over and over again. I took the cup from her and said no and she started to cry as no doubt, banging the cup was fun for her. I have done this before and given her the cup back but if she started banging it again, I took it away.

DH says that I am too strict with her and that she should be allowed to bang as much as she likes at home and that when out and about she will naturally see that no-one else does it so she won't bang things then.

But to my mind, this is a bit inconsistent and think that if you don't gently guide her at home, she won't do it out and about. So am I being too "controlling" as he called it?

forevergreek Thu 13-Jun-13 19:43:17

Not at all, this is exactly how young children learn anything.

Just keep things simple at a level they understand, gradually changing expectations as they grow.

Ie at 18 months I would say don't throw, and remove food but give back after re enforcing no throwing. At 3 years though after warnings I would remove and they wouldn't get back

mummywantsaliedown Thu 13-Jun-13 19:54:00

Controlling would be if you held the cup while she sipped and then took it away again. All you're doing is guiding her towards good behaviour. Definitely not too young for that.

PleaseLetsGoToSleep Thu 13-Jun-13 20:06:06

Agree, you are not being controlling at all, you are teaching social skills and what sort of behaviour is acceptable. My ds is only 20 months but at 18 months he was doing exactly the same thing (the banging is so annoying!), so I started saying 'no' and guiding the cup in his hand back to the table, taking it away and placing it down myself if he continued (still within his reach though). After about a month of consistently enforcing no banging rule he got it and he doesn't do it now (apart from the odd time!).
The only way your dd is going to learn is by you teaching her what is acceptable behaviour and what is not. Your dh's suggestion is a bit preposterous tbh!

showtunesgirl Thu 13-Jun-13 20:11:02

Well I think the reason why he said it is because on the whole when we take her out to eat, she is very well behaved. He hasn't been there on the occasions when she's banged things when we're out and really I don't think anyone wants to have their meal ruined with loud thwacking of plastic on a table!

Also I think I am going to be the disciplinarian out of the two of us. For example, if DD cries for something and it's not great timing, I tell her that she will have to wait until it's a good time whilst DH would just give it to her. I think that even at this age, it's not a good idea to just give her what she wants because it's easiest and will avoid a tantrum.

MamaBear17 Thu 13-Jun-13 20:42:46

I think you have got the balance right. Speaking from personal experience, my own hubby is a soft touch and will do whatever stops dd crying in the first instance, even if that means she bangs her cup on the table. I, like you, am playing the long game. Teaching her that she needs to sit nicely and eat her dinner properly. My dd is 22 months and will, given the chance, pick up her food and smuggle it under the table so that she can drop it on the floor. I always take the plate away, explain what she has done wrong and return it a minute later. She will cry and try and guilt trip me with her 'my mummy takes away my dinner!' shouts but when I return the plate she eats nicely. You have to be consistent with your DH as well as your dd. The last argument me and my hubby had was because I was driving us all home and half way through the journey dd began to demand that daddy sit in the back seat. Hubby demanded I pull over so that he could switch seats and I said no. Apparently I am a mean mummy!

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