The 13 Thou Shalt Nots of the Family Dinner Table


dinner table manners

You know you have little ones in the house when you find yourself inventing dinnertime rules like these . . .

1. Thou shalt not pull out a tooth at the table.

2. Thou shalt not moan, sigh, wail, slump to the floor, or say the words “gross,” “ew,” or “I hate” in reference to anything on your plate. This makes thy mother cry.

3. Thou shalt not lick the table.

(Ideally, thou shalt not lick thy fingers either, unless thou art eating fried chicken, but . . . well, there’s still a lot of finger-licking. Your mother tells herself this happens because she is a fantastic cook, not because her children are Neanderthals.)

4. Thou shalt not put thy shoes or feet on the table. Thou also shalt not sniff or lick thy shoes or feet while at the table. (Seriously.)

5. Thou shalt not interrupt Mommy while she is eating to involve her in a situation involving poop. (Alas, this one also gets broken at almost every meal. This may account for Mommy’s frequent loss of appetite mid-meal. She can’t even think about last Thanksgiving without gagging.)

6. Thou shalt not whistle at the table—at least not during dinner while five other people are all speaking at the same time. At breakfast and lunch, some cheerful whistling is welcome.

7. Thou shalt not poke, prod, or otherwise injure another diner with thy fork, spoon, or finger. (Thou shalt not be entrusted with knives until thou art at least sixteen years old.)

8. Thou shalt not lick mashed potatoes off thy spoon as though it were ice cream. This makes thy mother gag.

9. Thou shalt not blog, text, Tweet, Facebook, or answer the phone while at the table. (Thy mother probably cannot help plotting epic teen novels in the back of her brain, but that is permitted.)

10. Thou shalt not pass gas, or imitate the sound of gas-passing using thy armpit, at the table. (This rule also extends to silent-but-violent episodes.)

11. Thou shalt not inflict Neil Diamond or Johnny Cash impressions upon thy family during dinner if thou wanteth thy wife to remain at the table and thy children to not clap their greasy hands over their anguished ears.

12. Thou shalt not roll thine eyes at the large number of animal-themed Knock-Knock jokes that are clearly being made up on the spot. Thou shalt listen patiently and laugh heartily at the nonsensical punch lines.

13. Thou shalt not worry, stress, or be angsty at the table. Thou shalt relax and belly-laugh until thy hiccups overflow.

Okay, it’s your turn. What are your family’s dinner table Thou Shalt Nots? (Scroll down to comment!)


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Dinner table manners with kids