Well, I’ve not been creating as much as I’d like to lately, but I did create a much needed FHE (family home evening) lesson for my kids yesterday. They have been having a hard time with table manners, and I get tired of telling them over and over and over every night to “chew with their mouth closed, sit on their seat the right way, don’t get up to play with toys in the middle of dinner, stop complaining… we can’t have macaroni and cheese EVERY night!” The list goes on and on. So, I saw a “good manners dinosuar” thing on pinterest, and I thought it would be a good way to address this issue with my kids. However, the good manners she used were not the good manners I wanted to focus on myself. So, here’s what I did…
We read the story “How Do Dinosaurs Eat Their Food?” by Jane Yolen and Mark Teague. (Thank you local library for having it on hand!)
Then, we talked about our different dinosaurs. Note that these were the issues we have been having… you can make up your own dinosaurs to fit what your family needs.
PROMPT-osaurus (brontosaurus… yes, I realize they no longer exist. Scientists have destroyed my childhood by taking away my favorite dinosaur and my favorite planet. Its like I’ve been living a lie my whole life. I say, bring them back just for nostalgia’s sake!) The PROMPT-osaurus is always on time for his dinner. He does not say “just a second mom! I have to finish this game” or “Hold on, I’m not done playing with my toys.” He just comes when he is told.
CHAIR-odactyl (pterodactyl) The CHAIR-odactyl sits forward in his chair with his feet in front of him. He does not lean back in his seat or turn sideways or backwards.
TRY-ceratops (triceratops) The TRY-ceratops tries every new thing once, even if he doesn’t want to! He just might find a new food that he likes!
STAY-gosaurus (stegosaurus) The STAY-gosaurus does not get up from the table without asking. He does not go play with toys before dinner is done, he does not get up to get some milk in the middle of dinner. He stays at the table the whole time, unless he has permission to leave for the restroom, etc.
Tyra-NO-SHOW-US (tyrannosaurus) The Tyra-NO-SHOW-US keeps his mouth closed while he is chewing. He does not show us the food that is being chewed up in his mouth.
HAPPY-cephalosaurus (pachycephalosaurus) The HAPPY-cephalosaurus is always pleasant at dinner. He does not complain that he doesn’t like the food, and he does not fight with his siblings when they get too close to him. He is pleasant and kind all dinner long.
On pinterest there was another table manners lesson where a lady had a pig at the table and if you had a bad manner the pig was passed to you. I don’t remember the consequence for ending up with the pig, but I felt like this was a little too negative for my style, so what I did was got four little plastic dinosaurs from the dollar store and each of us will have a dino by our plate at the start of the meal. If we do not follow the example of our good table manner dinosaurs, then we will have to give up our dinosaur. At the end of the meal, whoever has a dinosaur left will get to color a spot on our dinosaur picture. *I also laminated my example dinos and will have them in the middle of the table so we can see/remember what we’re supposed to be doing.
Now, we eat out quite a bit, so the bribe here is that we are not allowed to eat out until all the dinosaur spots are filled. This is important to Shey because her birthday is in a few weeks and she really doesn’t want to miss her Birthday Dinner because of bad manners, so hopefully it will be enough motivation for us to keep on track! Once again, you could personalize the reward system however would fit best for your style.
So, below are printables of the dinosaurs (with and without names on them, in case you want to make up your own), AND studio files so you can open them in your silhouette studio and cut them out quick and easy! Also, the chart to fill in (with 40 spots) because I really am all about bribery with my kids! Let me know if you try this, or if you have more ideas on how to keep your kids better behaved through dinner!
(dino chart=rewards tracker, dinos.pdf=without names, dinosB.pdf=with names, dino1.studio (and 2 and 3)=silhouette print/cut files)