5 year old table manners


We have a hyperactive, strong-willed 5-year-old daughter (and we are learning to get on with this).

We would like to know how to approach what we call “multiple offenses”.

For instance, when we sit at the table having dinner, she would jump on her chair, and then wipe her nose with her sleeve, then talk with food in her mouth, then get up and grab our cat and so on, and so on. I tend to react to each of these and I find myself ceaselessly telling her off (rather harshly, I admit): “Sit straight! Calm down! Use paper towel! Finish your food, then talk! Put the kitty down and get back to your chair!..”.

My wife is inclined to soft-pedal the misbehaviors… and that creates unwelcome rift between us.

My wife agrees that we should not ignore misbehavior but she does not approve of my harsh approach and she believes that reacting to every daughter’s misconduct is counterproductive.

The thing is that there are no outstanding trespasses; they are all trifle, but they keep on piling up (like licking gravy from her fingers a moment after apologizing for licking gravy from her fingers).

We would appreciate your thoughts on how to deal with this.

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