9 Family Rules for the Table

Few things in daily life bring the family together like an evening meal. Beyond the delicious food and nutrition, family meals create many additional benefits. In fact, kids who regularly eat with their parents are known to have less stress, better family relationships, increased vocabulary, and higher academic achievement scores. To get even more out of your mealtime, try incorporating these 9 family rules for the table.

1. Arrive quickly.
One of the best ways for kids to say thanks for the prepared meal is to promptly arrive when dinner is served. And yes, this rule still applies if your child is right in the middle of something.

2. Wait until the servers are seated.
Good things come to those who wait. At the table, your growling stomach can wait just a little while longer, so you can all begin eating together after bowing your heads in a prayer of thanksgiving.

3. Empty your pockets.
Eliminate possible distractions from cell phones by not allowing devices at your table.

4. Invite discussion.
Do your best to eliminate negative topics and ask great questions that get answers beyond, “My day was good.” Instead, ask a question like “What made you smile today?”

5. Notice who is speaking.
Make sure everyone has a chance to talk and ask a question to someone who may be quieter than normal.

6. Savor the food.
As a practical tip, taste the food before adding salt or pepper or requesting your mainstay condiment. Appreciate the effort that went into making the food.

7. Pass the food.
Traditionally, food is expected to be passed at the table in a counter-clockwise direction. If you want seconds, passing is always better than reaching.

8. Place used utensils on your plate.
Even the youngest members of your family can follow this simple rule that’s especially important if a tablecloth is being used.

9. Use your napkin properly.
If you need to get up, your napkin should be placed on your chair rather than the table. At the end of the meal, your napkin should be placed to the left of your plate.

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