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What are your meal time rules/routines?

(22 Posts)
Sleepglorioussleep Sat 08-Oct-11 20:58:56

Ours are allowed down between courses. They say thank you and ask to leave the table. We don't expect them to wait til everyone finished, especially if adults chatting or someone being slow. Squash only at weekends. Use knife and fork age and food appropriate. Mouth closed when chewing. Can't think of much else.

Carrotsandcelery Sat 08-Oct-11 21:03:26

I am interested to watch this one.

I help feed a friends dcs once a week (long and boring story) and they have great routines in place but foul table manners. I am always equally in awe and disgusted. I am sure she would be the same if she fed mine but for opposite reasons. grin

Ours are:

mouth closed when chewing
hold cutlery the way my parents made me hold it
water except for special occasions
no feeding of the dog (but left overs can go in the bowl)
no tv
elbows off table
ask to be excused

Can't think of any others but there may be some.

Sleepglorioussleep Sat 08-Oct-11 21:06:19

I am particularly interested in the waiting til everyone finished one because we don't, our friends do and I think they are secretly shocked by it and think we're a bit slack.

Sleepglorioussleep Sat 08-Oct-11 21:07:19

I forgot-no toys or books at the table.

Carrotsandcelery Sat 08-Oct-11 21:08:53

If it is just a normal family meal we all wait until everyone is finished. If we are having lots of guests I don't make the dcs sit at table between courses or at the end of the meal as we could sit there for hours. It is really boring for them and just brews tension.

bibbitybobbityhat Sat 08-Oct-11 21:11:42

I don't make mine wait until everyone is finished if we have friends/family over and we are taking our time. They can get down and come back for second course.

Meglet Sat 08-Oct-11 21:13:37

Home is pretty much chaos as I don't eat with the DC's very often, only once a week or so. I'm just glad if they don't hurl their food / cutlery across the room, which DD does most days.

But they are really good when we eat out. They know how to behave with other people.

SouthernandCross Sat 08-Oct-11 21:13:58

Start the meal together. Mouths closed while chewing. If you hate it don't make a fuss, just make a sandwich. No using your fork as a weapon. No toys or books at table. No TV in the kitchen but we have the radio on. Scrape your plates yourself and plates to the bench.
Now and again I'll insist on using utensils nicely, no elbows but mostly I'm just grateful if everyone eats something.
They get down when they are finished and if there is pudding they get it whether or not they eat their main course. They have very dilute ribena for every meal.

Sleepglorioussleep Sat 08-Oct-11 21:23:34

Interesting-mostly get down between courses in company then? It felt today a bit that dd who'd eaten her main with little fuss was then having to wait for all the shenanigans while friend's ds was being cajoled into eating his. We have a bit of palaver with ds but works okay because dd excuses herself while we play trains going choo choo into ds's mouth! Although I've mixed feelings about that-not as if he'll starve! And I do pudding (fruit or yoghurt) as right not reward. I don't mind what others do-and know that it depends on all kinds of factors like how much yours enjoy their food - just find it heavy weather trying to get mine to finish every mouthful when they've been served more than they'd usually eat. But also believe when in Rome... Oh - another one of ours is try before you refuse unless its something you've tried and really disliked very recently.

substantiallycompromised Sat 08-Oct-11 21:27:36

-Always eat at table unless (very rarely) allowed special treat in front of tv (approx twice a year!) My dh cannot stand eating on the sofa in front of telly!)
- Usually asked to help set and clear table and to help serve
- No tv on in background EVER (this is my particular bugbear)
- Water only except on special occasions
- No elbows on table
- No kicking feet or rocking back on chair
- Mouth shut while chewing
- No interrupting conversations but at same time encouraged to speak in turn and contribute to conversation
- No "picnic stretching" - encouraged to ask for things to be passed across table
- Encouraged to use proper implements but I turn a blind eye to the occasional 'difficult' thing being eaten with the fingers
- Doesn't have to clear plate (and no pressure to eat hated things) but must at least TRY everything on plate, even if it's just a tiny bite
- Must say please and thank you
- Must ask "Please may I leave the table?" before leaving
- We are RC so say grace before lunch on Sundays and some other times (I know this must sound wierd to many people!)
- Usually has to stay until everyone finished but allowed to get down and come back for pudding if we are with friends and endlessly talking and dc getting bored!

babycham42 Sat 08-Oct-11 21:32:59

I agree with Meglet.Mine can behave beautifully in public (not that they always do but they can and know how to)
At home the rules are relaxed but they are expected to ask to leave the table if we"re eating as a family and take their plates out.I"m not that bothered with cutlery if fingers are easier at home.They don"t have to wait until everyone is finished but they have to stay at the table until they"ve finished.
They only like water.

substantiallycompromised Sat 08-Oct-11 21:34:38

Oh yes, forgot to say "wait until everyone served until we start" but there are only three of us so not very onerous

Sleepgloriousleep agree with you about pudding as right not reward as I think that can lead to an unhealthy bribery situation

I do though make dd stay at table until all her friends have finished and then they are collectively allowed to go and play between main and pudding. (I know this is a difficult one to judge if friends are different ages and perhaps one or two are very tiny and slow at eating though!)

Carrotsandcelery Sat 08-Oct-11 21:37:58

Sleep I do make dcs wait until all dcs who are eating with us are finished (apart from babies) as once one child is down and running around then they all want down. I am uptight about it though because my ds is underweight and struggles to eat enough to maintain his weight. Otherwise I don't suppose I would mind on the rare occasions this would happen.

Carrotsandcelery Sat 08-Oct-11 21:39:06

Oh cross posts substantially

HSMM Sat 08-Oct-11 21:44:40

Most of the above plus

Don't bang cutlery on the wooden table,because it dents
Clear up when we're finished

Sleepglorioussleep Sat 08-Oct-11 21:45:08

Carrotsandcelery-that's just kind of explained my friend's different style. Mine are fine at eating but not so great at sitting still waiting for others. Hers struggle with the eating bit but could sit still for ages! I do think we need to come up with some middle ground-I don't enjoy meals with them at the mo. Perhaps mine sitting at the table but us not getting too stressed if they're a bit noisy. Or hers having a bit less on plate for the one meal a month they're at ours. I always serve their favourite meal and double check before they come. We already know that she insists on food being eaten before pudding and that I don't and manage that amicably-it's just an unspoken given. So I think we'll work it out.

Sleepglorioussleep Sat 08-Oct-11 21:45:58

Yeah-no banging cutlery! Keep remembering rules!

Carrotsandcelery Sat 08-Oct-11 21:52:54

It is very difficult for both of you in these circumstances Sleep. I think once a month the meal doesn't really matter so much. In those circumstances I might serve some chocolates after dinner, knowing that ds would manage to shove them in at high speed and make up the calories that way. Once a month is not a disaster, even for him.

I would chat to your friend about it. Ask if it is difficult when your dcs are excused and if it would be easier if you kept them at table, even if they were a bit noisier.

Meals with friends and their dcs are all about compromise and tolerance I think. It sounds like you are trying hard to do that.

Sleepglorioussleep Sat 08-Oct-11 21:56:23

I think I'm feeling a bit frosty about it because today my dd was told off by my friend for the first time and I feel a bit uncomfortable about it. I didn't show it I don't think but I just felt for dd who had waited a very long time. I don't want to make it all about that though. It did make me reflect on what was the norm though.

Carrotsandcelery Sat 08-Oct-11 22:00:44

My SIL sets up a cute little table (coffee table with nice tea towel for a table cloth) for the dcs when we have family meals and feeds them first. It is cute but I do prefer us all to eat together. It may be a tactic though in the circumstances.

I know everyone is saying no toys at table but maybe a couple of small, quiet toys could be allowed for dcs who have finished, only in these circumstances, or small drawing pads and pencils etc. We tend to carry things like this when we eat out to keep the dcs settled while they wait for food to come.

Sleepglorioussleep Sat 08-Oct-11 22:05:31

Carrotsandcelery-I like the idea of a little bit of drawing. I always have a bagful of stuff like that for restaurants/cafes where they have to sit and wait. I paint my dd as a non sitter-she's not and dies really well when eating out, just not without anything to do. Because of course her friend can't chat while dd is waiting because she's eating! It's good to think these things through. I do want to make it work out.

Sleepglorioussleep Sat 08-Oct-11 22:07:29


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