Good table manners are an important key to your children’s social success. Children aren’t born with good manners, and teaching them is your responsibility, as a parent. In fact, table manners can bring in a lot of positive changes in your children’s behavior and help in developing moral values. Read on and find out a few table manners you should teach your children.
1. Greet people
Nowadays many children just come to the dining table, quickly eat a meal and move away without greeting people around them. And this leaves a really bad impression about the children in everybody’s mind. Teach your children to have a look at people sitting around them at the dining table and greet them. First impression is the best and most lasting impression! If your kid forgets to greet everyone, you can tactfully remind the child to say ‘Hello’ to others. To set an example you can greet your child first.
2. Setting the table
It’s essential for your children to learn how to set the table properly. They will always know that the forks go on the left, and the spoons, knives and the glass on the right. The napkin should lie beside the fork and the blade of the knife should face the plate. Your child should also remember that it’s unacceptable to eat until everyone is served. Many parents skip this important step, and this is a very big mistake! However, these skills will come in handy when you need a couple of extra hands to help you or when the children should serve the table by themselves.
3. Manners of sitting while eating
Teach your children to sit straight, with their elbows off the table and the napkins on their lap. If the child doesn’t know when it’s time to put the napkin on the lap, tell them to observe and repeat after older people. It may be hard for children to sit for a long time if their legs don’t reach the ground. But try to make your kids accustomed to sitting like this for at least 5-10 minutes a day. If your kid is too active, let them get up from the table, push the chair back and play for some time. These table manners are of great importance when you eat at the restaurant or visit friends and kinsfolk.
4. Chew with their mouth closed
This is one of the most important table manners you should teach your children. Nobody would wish to look at people eating with their mouth opened. Teach your kid to take small bites of food instead of stuffing the mouth full. Your kid should know that talking with a full mouth is unacceptable. Moreover, it’s highly dangerous since the child can choke with the food. So be sure to teach your children to chew the food slowly and with their mouth closed.
5. Ask for food
You should also teach your children how to ask for food rather than reaching across others to get it. Perhaps, the child doesn’t know when it’s okay to get the food themselves and when it’s better to ask for food. As long as you can reach the food with your arm leaning forward a bit, take the food yourself. If not, ask for food. Words ‘Please’ and ‘Thank you’ are indispensable while asking to pass you something. The correct way to pass the food is in a counterclockwise direction, from left to right. First, teach your children to pass the food to the person sitting close to them.
6. Use a fork and spoon
Teach your children to use a fork and spoon unless the food is meant to be eaten with fingers. Forks and spoons can make a very irritating noise, so teach your kids to eat slowly and gently, without banging against the plate. Your kids should know that it’s forbidden to push food to the fork with fingers. Your child can use a spoon for this purpose. When eating with a spoon it’s necessary to sip from the side. Teach your kids not to lick the cutlery when they finish with their meal. Since all these tricks require great practice you’d better start teaching your children at a very young age. Sure, they will make a mess, but it’s worth it!
7. Don’t dump the food
Be sure to teach your children not to dump the food completely into mouth. Teach your children to put small morsels of food in the mouth. Stuffing mouth with food may result in choking that can lead to some serious health problems. Not only is it better for digestion and health, it will also make the conversation more pleasant and easier. If you’re going to eat out or with your friends, make sure your child had some light snack not to feel hungry.
8. Don’t pick their teeth
Tell your children that they should never pick their teeth at the table. Tell them to use a toothpick and if the children feel restless, ask them to excuse themselves and go to the restroom to pick their teeth. If the child notices that a piece of food stuck in the tablemate’s teeth, the child should quietly tell about that or signal with their eyes or chin. Teach your kid some tricks to remove hot or unwanted food from the mouth.
9. Say ‘Thank you’
Teach your children to say ‘Thank you’ to the person who cooked and served food for them. Explain your kids that the person took time and energy to prepare and serve the food, and that’s why they should show their appreciation. Teach your kids to be thankful for service when you eat out. When your kids are accustomed to say ‘Thank you’ at home, they’re more likely to do it when they’re at the restaurant or someone else’s home. When a child wants to refuse the food, they should say ‘No, thank you’ as well.
10. Respect the food
Finally, it’s also very important to teach your kids not to make any rude comments about the food being served. Tell them that it will hurt the person who cooked the meal, spending their valuable time, energy and money. Also teach your children not to waste the food that is served to them. Fighting for food or yelling at the dinner table is highly disrespectful to the host and to the meal. Teach your children not to make impolite and tactless judgments about someone’s eating habits and preferences. Explain that every food that is on the table is a blessing.
No matter whether you’re eating out, with friends or at home, good table manners are always important. Good table manners are a powerful tool of social interaction that will help your kids in their adult life. Table manners are appreciated by most people. Your child should learn respectful attitude towards food, and good table manners should be taught from the young age. Do you have any tips for teaching the children table manners? Share them, please!