Sitting down to eat as a family can be a real blessing or a parent’s worst nightmare. Getting kids to sit still, chew with their mouths closed, and be pleasant at the table can sometimes be a Herculean task.
Table manners, as well as manners in general, are not about being better than anyone else, but rather about being inclusive with all groups. Being aware of how to behave in a variety of settings allows for confidence in any setting, and this sets everyone up for success!
When you educate yourself and your children in the art of good table manners, you help create positive, life-long habits. Planning ahead also means more peace at family meals and more magical mealtime memories.
I’ve compiled a kiddo-friendly list of critical table manners below, which open the door for more table etiquette down the road. First and foremost, “please” and “thank you” reign supreme! “Please pass the …..” “Thank you for making dinner!” It’s also important that no devices are allowed at the table and everyone helps clean up when the meal is finished. Remember, your family is a team!
Ok…let’s get to that list…
1. When eating at home, it may prove helpful to have assigned seats. Then there’s no need to fight over who sits where every night!
2. Napkins go in laps.
3. Chew with your mouth closed. No SEE food! Also, take small bites so you are able to respond should someone ask you a question.
4. Keep the conversation upbeat and appropriate. Say “No thank you,” instead of “Yuck” (or similar). And, of course, no rude comments or noises at the table! You may want to come prepared with conversation starters.
5. Ask to be excused; don’t just get up from the table while everyone else is still eating or chatting. And, again, help clear the table and clean up when everyone is finished.
What did we miss? Is there another critical table manner you teach your kiddos?
Next week we’ll discuss Manners in the Digital Era. Until then, bôn appétit, and here’s to a calm family meal!