How to Teach Your Kids Table Manners & Have Fun in the Process! by Christine Jones
Good table manners are an important life skill. But it can be a challenge teaching manners to young kids. We created this fun game to teach our kids basic table manners and it’s worked really well! Here’s how to play!
- Give every member of the family five marbles or pennies
- Write up a list of three to five basic table manners that you want to start teaching them (put your napkin in your lap, wait for everyone to be served before you start eating, no elbows on the table, don’t tip back in your chair, no eating with your hands, no fighting, no reaching across the table, use "please" and "thank you," ask to be excused before getting up, etc.).
- Begin dinner as normal. As people break a table manner rule, call them out and ask them to pay you a marble or penny.
- Whoever has the most marbles/pennies at the end of the meal wins.
As manners are mastered, you can add to the list and include more advanced skills (setting the table, passing the salt and pepper together, clearing the table, etc.). Alternatively, you can reduce the number of pennies given at the start of the meal. You can also adjust the amount of pennies/marbles distributed based on age. Adults and teens in my house get 2 cents each, while my 6-year-old still gets 5 cents.
If you don’t want to use pennies, Hershey kisses, Starbursts or some other small treat is a fun substitute. This is how my kids like to play now and it makes dessert easy!