Travis and I have been working on table manners lately; he’s old enough now that his behavior matters more when we go out to dinner, or even just dine as a family. No elbows on the table and staying in your seat are big rules in our house!
But I wanted to stop feeling like a broken record reminding him of these manners, so we did some investigation into etiquette around the world to make things more fun! This overlapped nicely with a home-school lesson to go with our Eggplant Parmesan from Raddish Kids.
Start off with some giggles, with a recitation of ‘The Goops.’ I remember this poem from my own childhood!
The Goops they lick their fingers.
The Goops they lick their knives.
They spill their broth on the tablecloth,
Oh they lead disgusting lives.
The Goops they talk while eating,
And loud and fast they chew;
And that’s why I’m glad that I
Am not a Goop – are you?
You can plainly see the giggles this elicited!
I asked Travis what the poem was about, and he caught on right away that it was about manners.
Next we watched a clip of strange etiquette rules around the world. Travis was more interested than I would have guessed. “Mom, in one part of the world you can’t eat with your left hand,” he came rushing up to tell me, for example.
Because he’s only 4, we parsed the video closely so it made more sense. I printed flags from 7 of the 12 countries (the full 12 seemed overwhelming) and printed pictures depicting the bad manner to go along with each. We colored them in (a nice geography lesson, too!) and then glued each flag to the appropriate etiquette picture.
For some final silly fun, we read ‘The Goops’ again, and this time Travis got a kick out of acting out some of the bad manners – elbows on the table and fork licking!
Big kids can make this into a proper skit, and delight their family or friends with their bad manners. What’s a big no-no in your house? Please share in the comments!