We have been frustrated with the dinner manners (or lack thereof) our children have been using at the table. Nagging and reminding really doesn't work and isn't fun for anybody (myself and my husband included). So we tried this tonight instead.
The manners game is quite simple. First we reviewed expected dinner table manners before the meal. Then, I gave each person at the table 3 pencils to sit at the top of their place setting. Then we ate. If anyone caught anyone else breaking a dinner table rule they could take a pencil from that persons stack and tell them the rule they broke. Whoever accumulated the most pencils at the end of the meal wins.
My husband and I had a lot of fun intentionally breaking rules to see if we would get caught (trust me the kids loved catching us). And the manners of my near 9 year old suddenly became spot on perfect.
This all led into a great discussion about why table manners are important and what to remember when they eat at a friend's house or a restaurant. We will play this again and soon.