Dinner Rules



Lately I’ve been feeling like I spend more time at meals correcting bad manners than actually eating.  Both Matt and I have been really frustrated by a general lack of good behavior at the table and what feels like a back-slide into really poor table manners.  I don’t know what’s causing it, but I don’t really need to know.  All I know is that we have to end it.

After a particularly frustrating dinner last week, I was at my wit’s end.  My children are definitely old enough to know what’s expected at the dinner table, and I am past the point where I should be spending my meals reminding people of things they already know.

I’ve said before that I’ve witnessed a strange phenomena with my kids where I can SAY something one millions times and it doesn’t sink it, but if I WRITE IT DOWN where they can see it, they finally get it.

So I typed up a few rules for mealtimes, printed it out, and literally taped it to the kitchen wall near the table.


I read them the rules the first night, and reminded them of them each night since, and I’m not even exaggerating when I say we are correcting behavior less than half as often as we had to previously. It’s made meals enjoyable again.

I don’t know what it is with my kids that makes writing the rules somehow more official, but it works.  I wonder if other kids have that same reaction, but knowing that mine DO react that way to a written edict, I will use it to my advantage as often as possible.

dinner rules

Anything to stop myself having to repeat “sit flat in your chair” and “don’t complain about dinner” one thousand times each meal.

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10 thoughts on “Dinner Rules

    1. Jessica Post author

      It does help when they can read, Mish! But we have a “morning responsibility” list that has pictures next to the words so even my remaining non-reader can understand it. Maybe that would work for this too! 🙂

  1. Sheri

    My kids do much better with written lists, too. I have had to “clearly” write out guidelines for chores, personal hygiene, cleaning (pick up the trash in the corners of the room and check for dirty clothes behind the bathroom door)=), etc. several times in the past few years. The written word has some sort of magical power indeed!

    1. Jessica Post author

      Sherri, I think I may steal your “personal hygiene” list idea for my boys…maybe writing it down will help them remember to wash their faces and brush their teeth!

  2. Beth

    Hi Jessica, Can I ask where you got your dining room chairs and if you are happy with them? Thanks!

    1. Jessica Post author

      We would have loved to have gotten the Eames originals, but these are knock-offs. We got them on Overstock.com actually and I am very happy with them!

  3. Pingback: School Break | Little Nesting Doll

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