How many of us have seen them, strolling gamely down the street: a child who looked like she ran blindfolded into their closet and put on the first few things they found by sense of touch, no color, pattern or style coordination whatsoever? Usually finished off with a tiara, pair of fuzzy antennae, fairy wings, or a knee-high pair of Ugg or galosha boots?
OK, so many of us have found the idea of a dinner table more of an idealistic one; many dining room tables in many homes all over North America are covered in mail, discarded items and unfinished homework, rather than serving as a gathering place for the family to eat. Too many people take their meals at the TV or on the go that table manners seem to be a lost art. Perhaps it’s too late to salvage everything your grandparents insisted on, but there is definitely room for a modern-day reboot. Sweep the crud off that dining room table and start the process today!
Lay Down the Rules. Perhaps you can’t be like grandma and say no elbows on the table, but set some basic rules: no reaching across people or the table, no eating with fingers (except in certain cases), no burping at the table, etc. Simple stuff. If you must, make a chart and keep it up. Think of how proud and relieved you will be when you someday send your child off to college, knowing his table manners…well, perhaps later then, once he’s married. Maybe.
Practice. Sure, why not? Tea parties are perfect for boys and girls to teach table manners and etiquette. Have fun.
Provide Opportunities to Shine. When you go out to eat, don’t always automatically choose someplace silly and kid-oriented that needs no silverware, much less table manners. Kids older than age 7 can (should) be trustworthy enough to eat like people rather than pigs. Let them order something and help them to use their manner. When they succeed, praise them and let them know how proud you are. Plus, you get a meal that doesn’t automatically come with fries!
- No open-mouthed eating
- No eating with fingers (unless it’s finger food, like fried chicken, pizza, etc.)
- Napkins in laps
- No reaching across the table or across other people
- Ask before taking a serving
- Say please and thank you
- USE the napkin
- Don’t chew or talk with open mouths
- Don’t talk about rude things at the table
- No burping
- If you’re a guest, eat what is served and don’t complain, unless you have a genuine dietary problem…which should have been advised of before dinner was served
- Keep elbows off the table
Good luck and God Speed!!
One of the hallmarks of a truly great society is its capacity for compassion. History has shown us little of this, which is why we have to strive to instill kindness and thought for others into our children from an early age. Why? Because they will be the ones dictating things to the future generations.
It is one thing to excel at something yourself; it is another altogether to dream about your darling baby doing something altogether special and magical. We all get a thrill out of doing something well, but parenthood expands us, adds another dimension altogether to our capacity for pride and admiration. We want our kids to succeed, make their mark, be special, but how do we do that without turning into the Tiger Mom?
So why do you feel like such an utter and complete failure sometimes?
Because, pussycat, you are stretching yourself too thin.
As much as we hate it, kids get sick. From the time they’re tiny babies and get that horrible first snuffly cold to the advent of communicable viruses and such that comes from interaction with other kids at school and playdates, your child will be sick more than a few times during their time in your care. Sometimes they don’t need much more than a tissue and a night with the dehumidifier, but other times more stern measures must be taken.
One of the main things a new mom needs is a breast pump. Even if she doesn’t work outside the home, there are so many ways a breast pump can mean the answer to an emergency or simply avoiding a headache…or a nap!
Every new mom has a laundry list of stuff she supposedly can’t do without or must have, courtesy of her girlfriends, doctor, mother in law, or parenting book. Some of it is great, some of it is useless. Here are some things that every new mom must have, and they’re not all gadgets or gimmicks.
When most new mums bring their freshly-minted babies home from the hospital, they are still in that wonderful stage where all they do is sleep. Then…whoa. They wake up. And some babies wake up with a vengeance, discovering their lungs and their likes and dislikes quickly. Others fuss. Fussing is hard to read: you don’t know exactly what is bother baby, and it quickly becomes frustrating, especially to women whose nether regions still feel like they’re on fire and who need sleep, a shower and to have fluids stop dripping out of various body parts. I remember with my daughter, my first child, laying her down on the couch and just running away to the bathroom to sob for five minutes (she was safely swaddled, no chance of rolling off–she was only six days old) because I couldn’t get her to stop fussing. Post-partum depression, nerves, hormones, whatever, it sucked. Now, however, I’m an old hand. Four kids have taught me a lot, and what I didn’t learn myself, I learned from other, even more experienced and insightful moms. Read on. These aren’t cure-alls, but they all help somewhat…you may have to use them all at various times, or invent your own techniques, because all kids are different, just like all moms.
Temper tantrums are not exclusively the province of small children; adults have them all the time. Sometimes throwing yourself on the ground and kicking and screaming is highly therapeutic. However, it is something that should be kept to a minimum, because it’s embarrassing in public, and it’s disheartening at home. Here is how to handle a temper tantrum.