Mind your Manners

12 Feb

Liam has learned a new trick this week that he likes to show off at mealtime.  It involves him holding his breath until his face turns beet red and then a combo of yelling and fake coughing…then repeat multiple times.  The first time it happened, I thought he was hyperventilating and was ready to call 911 (first time mom…remember?).  The second time it happened, I though my son was possessed by a demon.  Then he started laughing hysterically and was so proud of his antics, that I was convinced we didn’t need an ambulance or an exorcist.  He also has started repeatedly banging his hand against the highchair tray and blowing raspberries when he should be eating.

While all of these things sound cute (well except the demon thing), it got me thinking about things I can do now to lay the foundation for better table manners later.  I am a huge fan of the Babywise series and one of their core concepts is to “start as you mean to go on.”  It is basically built around a concept that if a baby is never given the opportunity to develop bad habits, then there will not be bad habits to break down the road.

Obviously Liam is too little to teach table manners but I am starting to work with him on appropriate behavior at the table.  I have to start correcting him at some point, otherwise we will have the two year old that dumps the plate of pasta on his head repeatedly!  I can tell he is starting to recognize certain words that we use often because he often smiles in response.  In following the “start as you mean to go on” mantra, I have started putting his hands down and saying “no” to his silly antics at the table.  I am trying to teach him that highchair time is a time for eating not playing.

It’s hard not to laugh at his growing bag of tricks at the dinner table, but I think that only encourages his behavior.  By keeping things calm and gently using the word no, I am hoping we will lay the foundation for better table manners later.



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