We Are Family!

My kids know the song! It is so important to keep our family together but it is sooooo hard! I think last night was the first night all week that we sat around the table together for dinner and even that was at 7:30 pm! Can you believe it?! Poor family! But I am still glad that we made time to sit down together.

I wanted to let you in on a neat thing that we do to keep manners a priority for our kids, and even for us as parents, at the dinner table. The idea came from Family Fun Magazine but we have elaborated on it. We light a 4 wick candle at the beginning of dinner. If anyone loses or "forgets" their manners at dinner then they have to blow out a candle. We even have a bonus candle and that means that we are just really out of this world with our manners. If all 4 wicks are still lit at the end of dinner then we get to have dessert. Dessert to us is hot chocolate or popcorn or whatever we can rustle up. . . just an extra treat!

As parents, we love the idea because it keeps the table focused but my kids like the benefit. If we forget to light the candles then they make sure to remind us.

Food for thought: What does your family do to stay unified? How did you stay a family growing up? What are some creative ways that you have found to keep manners a priority at your table? For you non-posters, make sure you chime on this one . . .ie Katherine Kramer!!!! :)


Momma said...

How fun--what a great idea!

When I was a kid my parents taught us a chant: If one of us was caught with our elbows on the table, we would all say:

Nickie, Nickie, strong and able,
take your elbows off the table!
This is not a horse's stable,
this is Edstrom's eating table!

Kind of cute--it was never said in a derogotory way, it was just kind of a game.

We always read with the kids at night after supper. I plan to do this as long as they'll let me--my dad did it until my brother left for college (he's the youngest).

What a great picture of all of you!

John Mark said...

Agghhh!! Our good friends taught our kids that song when they spent the weekend with them. So our kids are always watching us like hawks for where we put our elbows! It's usually very funny but occasionally gets a bit annoying. "Okay, okay, Caleb. I'll get my elbows off the table!!!" :-)

I'm not sure if this was clear from the post, but we use the candle as positive and negative reinforcement. We have 6 wicks that can be lit. We always start with 4 lit. When bad manners crop up then lit wicks are blown out. When good manners are shown (consistently) then wicks are lit - up to all 6 being lit. The result has been some great "pleases" and "thank yous." The kids also like to complement Desiree on her cooking. It really has been a huge win. It gives them incentive to practice good manners and allows them to see the results those manners have.

Unknown said...

Nickie, I love that your parents taught you that saying too. My kids do think that is a great way to keep mom and dad in line. John Mark is right. This has been a great way to keep the compliments coming on my cooking. I need all the help I can get. Thanks for sharing with us! I definitely have enjoyed reconnecting with you!! Hope you have a great day!

Momma said...

That is awesome! Where on earth do you get a 6-wick candle?

D-I have so enjoyed getting to read your posts.


John Mark said...

Not 6 wick candles actually. We have a 4 wick candle and two one wicks that we just stick next to it. Not that great of an aesthetic but it works well.

katherine said...

hee hee hee . . . calling me out on the blog!
i love your candle idea. we might some day implement something like that :)
michael and i have started reading together many nights before we go to bed (right now, we're reading the chronicles of narnia) and i'd really like to read with our children.
when i was growing up, we always had to practice good manners ("katherine, your thumb is not a shovel" must have been my dad's favorite). but, at the same time, dad (who was the manner nazi) would teach us some funny, potty humor songs -- at the table! i still get tickled when i think of them ("it goes in heeeeeere. it goes around and around and around and around and it . . ." i'll spare you.)
and, we always ate dinner together. until i was in high school.