Table Rules and Rituals

Our family table rules are adapted from Melanie Silverman. For our family they work great because they give us a way to honor mealtime together and yet still make it a short and sweet affair. Of course, sometimes life seems to be all too hectic and busy, and our rules are not inscribed in stone, but they provide us something to aspire to, and when we get away from them, something to come back to.


  1. The whole family tries to eat dinner together.
  2. We set the table with nice plates, glasses, cloth napkins for the kids too.
  3. We eat three courses at dinner: 1st plate, 2nd plate and desert. Usually desert is fruit or yogurt, and sometimes the two plates get combined into one.
  4. We eat all of our meals at the table and not in other places around the house. This helps the kids know when to eat.
  5. No electronics, ipads, iphones, toys or games at the table. Tough to enforce but worth the effort.
  6. No short order cooking. The kids eat what we eat. And we all eat what we prepare and have available. No one is forced to eat if they don’t want to.
  7. No snacking between meals (except scheduled snacks). This helps the kids be patient.
  8. No crying and complaining at the table. No one is forced to eat, but no complaints about the food.

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