We have a pig. Yup, smack dab in the center of our dinner table is a pig. He’s been there for a few years and is responsible for bringing back PEACE to our family dinners. Here’s how it happened.
I wanted that dinner table with a hot, healthy meal and a loving family gathered around. My husband would ask grace and then my well-mannered children would pass around the plates of food as we chatted about our day. Yeah, NOT! During one exasperated dinner when my sons repeatedly burped during the prayer and then peas were thrown in protest to somebody chewing with their mouth open, I had had enough! My dinner table was completely filled with correction not conversation. It was not fun for anybody!
In my desperation for sanity, I grabbed a rubber pig from the top of the toy bin and began a rant about how they were behaving like 3 little pigs. Their mamma fear turned into belly laughter as I laid down the new law of dinner time.
- If you burp, toot, or make an inappropriate bodily noise, You get the Pig!
- Every time you have a sharp tone or rude words, you get the Pig!
- If you chew with your mouth open, or…try to throw food into somebody else’s mouth while it’s open, you get the PIG!
- Napkin in your lap, not on top of your sister’s head or else, PIG!
- Rocking in your chair, getting our of your chair, falling out of your chair, PIG!
- The pig will move from person to person as laws are broken.
- Whoever ends up with the pig at the end of dinner does everybody’s dishes.
I felt better and they were roaring in laughter. This was our new dinner standard. Still is. It’s not your regular chalkboard saying “In this family, we love…we forgive…we say please and thank you.” But it’s ours.
The dinner table is no longer a place of constant correction, we just pass the pig. The behavior that used to bring dissention to our meal, now has brought laughter… and with that, joy…and a table I want to sit at.
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Pure Awesome. I adore this clever and light-hearted solution. My girls are too little to handle doing the dishes on their own but I may have to figure out a more age-appropriate consequence of having the pig. Thanks so much for sharing!
Awe, glad you enjoyed it. I love Peanut Blossom by the way!
This is awesome Allison! Love the humor-based way to work on table manners! There’s only my son and me at home, but I bet he would love this nonetheless. 🙂
Thanks Mary Catherine. Your website is adorable. I’m sitting here getting my hair cut browsing through your crafts. You have a new fan.
What an amazing idea, I have just the little pig to join our dinner times starting tomorrow. I wish I had read this when I pinned it last night and then I could have had our first piggy dinner tonight haha. Thank you for the wonderful wisdom 🙂
Gen.ious! Thank you so much..I am starting to dread dinner time with the constant fight and nagging..this is a brilliant idea 🙂
My girls are younger as well. I was thinking of using this idea, but starting them out with some pennies. Everytime she does something wrong, she has to put one in the pig. Any leftover, she gets to keep. My older daughter (4) loves putting money in her piggy bank, so I’m sure she will want to keep all of them. My younger is still an infant, so maybe an idea for when she gets old enough to eat at the dinner table. 🙂
Love it! This is the greatest idea ever starting this right away hope it works!
So wish I had thought of something like that! I have 4 sons who are all grown up (relative term sometimes , :o) ) What I remember more, as my boys are all in their 30s now, (almost) is when they would get together early on in their adult years and here I would have 4 man sized little goofy boys!! What fun! we do have a “thing” the guys do when we have family discussions , when everyone wants to talk at once, they get a stuffed animal and whoever has the animal can talk. works great and I didn’t even have to think of it. God Bless!
That is a fabulous idea. We are currently using the straw system, where we all start out with 3 short straws and if you catch someone breaking a manners rule, you can steal the straw and the one with the most at the end wins. I like the pig idea, though! I dislike dishes and would be sure to win each meal! 🙂 Maybe we’ll rotate manners games at dinner! Thanks for the post!
Great idea for turning a stressful meal time into a place of laughter and fellowship! Thanks for sharing.
Hilarious…yet fair. What a fun mom you are!
Who does the dishes if everyone behaves and no one gets stuck with the pig? 🙂
Ha!I don’t know. It has never happened. I have 2 boys a year apart, they keep me humble.
Alli, I found your blog on Pinterest when a friend pinned your “Interrupting Rule”. Then I read the pig at dinner and I was hooked! I have a little pig that will be perfect and I can’t wait to try it! Thanks for a fun way to teach my kids manners…or rather, make them care about the manners I’ve already taught them!
Brilliant idea. You have lucky children to have parents who find fun and gentle ways to discipline. I bet the tradition will continue one day at each of their homes.
that is an amazing idea! thanks so much for sharing!
What a brilliant idea! Table manners are so important and you came up with a great solution. Thanks for sharing with Pin It Tuesday!
Hello, just saw your article on Pinterest. LOVE this idea & plan on adopting your idea. I have a 10, 8, & 6 year old. We go through the same EVERY NIGHT! And yes, they have been taught manners, but for some strange reason, aren’t consistent to say the least. My DH & I are tempted to eat after they eat! That’s how bad…But hope we won’t have to resort to that …will implement “the Pig”! Thanks for sharing!
This is great! Thanks for the idea! 🙂
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Genius! My 4yo is a bit young to be doing the dishes, but I like the concept.
This is so great! What a clever idea to restore peace. 🙂 Storing this info for when we have children.
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I LOVE this! My kids are still little but old enough to know the rules at dinner. I am going to try this. Thanks for the idea and the cute story behind it.
Love! Thank you for inspiring us!
Thanks April. Glad you enjoyed our ridiculous plastic pig. Funny how the impromptu mommy decisions can sometimes be more effective than something we read in a parenting book. Blessings.
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I am so happy to have found this idea. As the mom of three rambunctious boys, the dinner table was becoming a war of words. Planning on breaking out the pig tonight!
That makes me smile. We do what works. Good luck!
Absolutely brilliant! I am the only female in a house of 5. Boys can just be boys sometimes. Ok, a lot. I LOVE this. Great idea!!
Love this fun idea for teaching table manners! Adding to our Parenting Pin board
Love it! Searching through toy boxes now for a pig! I think it will be perfect for my 3. Pinterest search for creative help with manners brought me to your blog. It’s perfect!
I’m so glad you liked it! It’s not your usual table manner lesson but it’s still proving effective a year later. Happy Dining!
Stumbled on this through Pinterest. FAB IDEA! I need a toy pig now!
Haha! It’s all about the pig. Have a great day!
We are buying a pig tomorrow, you should have heard the complaining as my wife read the rules to our 9,7 and 6 year old
Ha! That’s is hilarious! Have fun with your new pig.
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This is hilarious and I hope you don’t mind me sharing with my TMT Deportment and Etiquette followers. Thank you for your ingenious way of making table manners fun.
Im so glad you enjoyed it. Laughing through parenting sure helps me keep my perspective. Have a great day.
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