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Some adults think manners are a thing of the past, relegated to little old ladies having tea, or little ‘princesses’ drinking pretend drinks with their teddy bears. Most children think manners are old fashioned, not for them, or just too plain boring to think about, but teaching them manners is important. Having manners is important for their ability to get along with others, and is part of living in a civilized society. Learning it however doesn’t have to be either old fashioned or boring. Most children like games, and in this interactive world, students learn easily if you add an element of competition. There are a number of games and activities you can play with your children to help them better understand the value and importance of manners.

One great game to play with your children is The Table Top Game. Each person at the table gets three or four popsicle sticks or another type of reward and puts them on their place mat. Before you start the game go around the table and ask everyone to recite a few table manners rules. Once you have done that you are ready to start. If one person sees someone breaking a table manner rule he/she gets to take one of their popsicle sticks. Whoever has the most popsicles at the end of the meal wins. Adults can even make it more fun by intentionally making a few mistakes and pretending to be shocked when they get caught out.

Ironically, playing games at the table is in itself bad manners, but you can explain the game can only be played when adults say so, and it is the only time kids are authorized to correct their mom or dad. Also, remind them they can’t go around correcting everyone, only when they are playing the game, and only with those at the table. You don’t want your children correcting people on the table next to you.

This game is great fun, and should have your children’s table manners corrected in no time. It also teaches self-correction. Use this to start the conversation rolling about table manners, and once they have mastered the game you can move on to other more complex ideas. I hope it works for you.