Parents should know they must be creative in order to help children to master the art of good table manners.
Can I really expect my child to learn good table manners? What can I teach him? What’s the best way to tackle these lessons? What should I do when my kid misbehaves at the table? What are some good rules? How can I get my child to behave in restaurants?
Have you ever asked yourself such questions? If you have, maybe you should know that you must be creative in order to help your children to master the art of good table manners. Otherwise, they may not accept new table rules so easily. Prepare them their favourite meal, use some interesting plates, perhaps with pictures of cartoon heroes to serve the food, in order to encourage them to start eating.
The following manners are fundamental to all meals. Share them with your kids and discuss why they are important. Practice them together as a family:
- Make them come to the table with clean hands and face. No one wants to look at a dirt-covered face while eating
- Serve small portions on small plates and small cups. Let the child regulate his or her own intake. Serving large portions and insisting on a clean plate can lead to overeating and the loss of self-regulation. Let them know they can get more if they are still hungry. Make sure you sit next to kids all the time while they are eating. Remove their plate when you see they don’t feel hungry anymore.
- During the meals, teach them not to talk with their mouth full
- Teach them to say “please” and “thank you”
- When your children can eat independently, teach them how to use spoon and fork. At the beginning, use the plastic ones.
- Teach them how to use a napkin. First, show your kid how to place it in his lap when he sits. Next, show him how to wipe his mouth and replace it on his lap.
- As they grow older, they should learn to start eating only when everyone at the table has been served. Furthermore, they should not make bad comments about the food like “Yuck!” Someone has spent time and effort to make the meal and negative comments can only hurt feelings. In addition, they should ask to be excused when finished with eating.
- You can teach your schoolers more good table manners. Show them how to sit up straight. Teach them to take small amounts of food and chew with their mouth closed. They should not to make rude noises like slurping while eating a soup. They should use a napkin to wipe food off their face or fingers. They should learn how to use a fork and knife properly. By now, kids have developed the fine motor skills necessary to cut their own food. Show them how to gently slice back and forth, rather than stabbing at the chicken. When they say they have finished, allow them to take their plate to the sink.
- Praise and even reward their good behaviour at the table. In the same time, don’t let them finish their dinner if they won’t cooperate and follow your rules at the table. Take their plates away and end the meal, without being emotional and angry and pushy. Thus they will understand the concept of punishment.
They should always sit in the same chair at the dinner table. This will help them gain confidence and a sense of belonging.
Eating out with children
Before going to a restaurant, choose something nice to wear for your kids. Talk about table manners and tell them how they should behave in a restaurant. For instance, no shouting and running around in the restaurant, as this is considered rude. Avoid restaurants when your children are very tired, poorly or really hungry as tantrums are more likely. At the restaurant, first order food for the kids and do it quickly to prevent they get hyperactive or bored. In addition, you will need to shorten the time spent there. If your children still get nervous, take them outside for a short walk.
Read about some more advice in the following link.