Table manners are so much more than about proper eating. Table manners teach some life
lessons like being kind and considerate of others. In today's world, people area also
judged on how they appear and how they act. Now this may not be fair but it is a matter of fact that we have to live with. Having proper table manners is one way people judge others and you don't want people to think that your children are barbarians, do you?
Believe it or not, table manners are taught as soon as your child understands what you're
saying. Remember that your children are just starting to learn so they will need coaching and reminders on table manners throughout their childhood. This coaching and reminders work best with positive reinforcement.
Children will respond better by recognizing and acknowledging when your child does something
right and you let them know. We also know that because your children are just learning they will make mistakes, so when your child does something wrong, do not be negative about it, instead gently tell them and better yet show them how it is best done and why.
Whether in the privacy of your home or in a public restaurant, below are some basic table manners to teach your kids:
I - Greet people
Most of the kids today, just come to the dining table, have a quick meal and move away. They don’t bother to smile or speak to the people around them. This leaves a very bad impression about the kid in everyone’s mind. Teach your kid to have a look at the people sitting around him/her at the dining table and greet them just by saying “Hello” or a “Hi”. First impression is truly the best and last impression. When your kid greets the people around him, a very good impression of your child being friendly and disciplined is created in the person’s mind.
Teach your child to eat with a fork unless the food is meant to be eaten with fingers.
Remind your child that only babies eat with fingers and you know that they are now longer a baby.
Eating with a fork is good to teach kids at a very young age because it helps them build
dexterity in the hands and fingers. Yes, I know they will make a mess but it is better
in the long run to teach when they are very young. It will take time so be patient.
III - Passing food
I know that you don't want to hear your child say or yell "bread" as they reach across the table. Teach your kids how to to ask for food rather than just blurting out what they want.
Proper etiquette for passing food is to pass it counterclockwise. It should also be noted
that all dishes should be passed around the table.
In all honesty, we do not always follow this rule in out house but we do make sure that our kids ask for food the proper way.
So what is the proper way to ask for food at the dinner table? The proper way to ask for food to be passed is "May I have some bread, please"?
I am sure you can will agree that no one likes to look over at someone and see that person
chewing their food with their mouth open. I know this is one thing that really gross me out. I hate to look around a restaurant and see someone sitting next to me chewing there food like a cow..
I would also include talking with food in the mouth in this table manner lesson.
Unfortunately, I see plenty of adults breaking both of these table manners. Again, to be
honest I know that I sometimes talk with food in my mouth, but only when I need to correct
my children at the dinner table. But when I do I make sure to cover my mouth so no one can
see the food inside.
Teach your child to breath through their nose and chew with their mouth closed. Also, teach
them to wait and speak only when their mouth is not full of food.
V - Don't Stuff your Mouth Full of Food
Until about a year ago, my wife was still getting on to our kids, especially my son, about
stuffing their mouth full of food. She always explained to them that they might choke. Well
if finally happened. My son was eating a piece of Mongolian beef. The beef was sliced in
long, thin strips. Part of the beef got stuck going down his throat and he got choked.
This really scared him and he has not stuffed his mouth since. This was an unfortunate way
for him to learn this lesson. You know most of us males are hard headed and have to learn
the hard way.
Explain to your children that you do not want them to get choked. Politely explain what can
VI - Place a Napkin on your Lap After being Seated
Teach your child to place the napkin on their lap right after being seated. The napkin is
to be used to gently wipe or dab your mouth. Teach your child to dab their mouth before
drinking from a glass. No one want to see spaghetti sauce on the rim of their glass, right?
My kids used to have a habit of wiping their hands on their pants so we have taught them
to keep a napkin on their lap. This way they wipe the napkin instead of their pants.
Plus this keeps any stains off their pants.
It is also important that your kids learn how to properly be excused from the table to go
to the restroom. The proper way is to place the napkin to the left of their plate.
Once finished with their meal, they should place their napkin neatly to the right of
the plate (not refolded, but not crumpled either). Typically, this process is only used
when dining out at a restaurant or at a formal event. However it is good to teach this
lesson at home and then reinforced when eating at a restaurant.
VII - Don't Speak Rude of the Food Being Served
Teach your kids to not make any rude or negative comments about any food being served.
It will hurt someone's feelings.
Remind your child that someone took time, energy, and expense to prepare the food, and
they should show your appreciation.
Also, teach your kids try a little bit of everything that is served even if they do not
like the food. This is especially beneficial when your kids spend the night at a family or
friends house. The family member or other parents will be very impressed with this
good table manner.
Teach your kids to always say "Thank You" when served something. Teach them to always show
Explain to your kids why we should say thank you when being served.
Remember, someone took time, energy, to prepare and serve the food or drink, show your
To rant real quick, how hard is it to say those two words "Thank You"? I constantly notice
that adults do not say Thank You. This is so rude. My pet peeve is when I hold the door
open for someone and they do not have enough courtesy to say Thank You.
IX - How to Eat Bread
Teach your kids that when eating bread or rolls, it is proper to break off a piece of bread
before buttering. Eating a whole piece of bread looks tacky.
Dipping the entire piece of bread in the side of butter looks even more tacky. Teach your
kids to place a small pat of butter on the edge of their plate and not to butter their bread from the butter bowl.
X - Don't Pick..
Don't pick your teeth that is. Teach your kids that they should never pick anything out of
your teeth while at the table, it's gross.
If it bothers you that bad, excuse yourself and go to the restroom to pick.
Again, teach your child that no one wants to see inside their mouth plus the mouth carries
a lot of germs.
XI - Don't Shovel...Eat Slow
Teach you kids to eat slowly, don't gobble up the food. Your kids are using a fork not a
shovel. Teach them to take their time and enjoy the taste of their food.
As a general rule I tech my kids to wait about 5 seconds after swallowing before getting
another forkful or spoonful. Teach your child to place their fork or spoon on the edge of
their plate after each bite. This will make them slow down
Raising a child in today’s day and age seems like a daunting task for most parents.
This is especially true because a child’s psychology nowadays is modulated and affected
by different factors. Children today, think and act differently. Therefore,
we present the 10 best child psychology tips that should be able to guide you through
this complicated task.
A child might be small but she/he is certainly not insignificant. Parents need to respect
their children and not belittle them. A child’s psyche will automatically want to
listen to someone who respects them.
II - Listen
Listen to your child as she/he also has a point of view and repressing it will only
lead to an ugly revolt later in life.
Be assertive with your child but do not shove his/her opinion in a corner. Also
remember that most child psychology experts say that children learn from their parents.
Therefore, do not overstep the line yourself and witness a change in attitude even in an
IV - Understand their fear/apprehension
If your child is apprehensive about the community pool or skating lessons, try and
understand what the real problem is. Do not directly label her/him a mischief maker.
She/he is probably not able to express herself/himself better. Dig deep.