We have tried to teach table manners to our children. The hope is that when they are not in our home they will hear our voices in their heads... "Don't talk with food in your mouth, use your fork correctly, don't take too big of bites, keep your elbows off the table etc. etc. It seems an impossible feat sometimes. I have considered using my Dad's method of teaching... stabbing the back of our hand with a fork if we reached in front of him or used our fingers instead of our utensils. (FYI he never drew blood) It worked though and I can confidently say that most of the 9 children in the Stoner family have successfully mastered table manners. We have tried triangles placed above their plates that we remove when a rule is broken. Three strikes and you leave the table. That worked for a little while. I would love to hear any suggestions of what works for you because this is how things go in our house...
We were at the dinner table and Riley was three at the time. She burped loudly and I reminded her that...
"We do not burp at the table, you need to be a lady and use your manners."
Her reply was "Mom, can you be the lady? I am just a little girl that likes to burp and fart."
(She may have been switched at birth... the Stoner family did not discuss such things let alone do them in front of people and when you did them by yourself you were still ashamed)
Fast forward five years.
Me - "Riley, we do not eat with our fingers"
Riley - "Maybe you don't"
Two weeks later.
Jesse - "Riley, you need to take smaller bites that will fit in your mouth"
Riley - "The big ones fit too, see..."
Needless to say, she has missed some privelages lately. (She is sweet and tender a good 80% of the time and secretly I think it is funny to see this side of her personality, but don't tell her that.)