Table manners are about being kind and considerate to other people. Teaching your children table manners is not always easy, but it is an important skill that will benefit them throughout their lives.
Although I love goofing around with my children at the dinner table, it’s important that they know how to use their manners when we are dining out. We all get a kick out of our kids burping their name, but it is never as funny when they do it while you are sitting in a restaurant.
The most important rule in teaching your children good table manners is to be consistent and encouraging. The more consistent you are at home, the more successful you will be when dining out. Stay positive with them. Nagging your children can give you an immediate response, but will not have any long term benefits. Before you start working on table manners with your children, write down on a paper or poster board what manners you want your children to work on. Then talk with them about it.
I recommend focusing on one manner each night with your children. Before you sit down to dinner talk about what manner you want them to focus on. Then encourage and reward your children during dinner as they work on accomplishing their good manner. Slowly your children will build-up a set of table manner skills.
Children love to be rewarded and praised!
Here is a list of suggested table manners to work with your children:
*Saying, “Please” and “Thank you.”
*Instead of sliding out of your chair and under the table, ask to be excused from the table after you are done with your meal.
*Don’t start eating until the cook is seated, and if she is not offer to help.
*Instead of saying “yuck!” if you don’t like a food, say “no thank you.” You don’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings.
*Use a napkin on your lap during dinnertime.
*Use your fork or spoon for eating instead of your fingers.
*If you stuff your mouth full of food it not only looks gross, but you could also choke.
*Before you speak check and make sure there is not any food in your mouth. When you chew make sure that your lips are closed together.
*Remember that it takes someone a long time to prepare your food. Eat slowly and enjoy your dinner. Wait a few seconds after swallowing before taking another bite.
*If you can’t reach something on the table, kindly ask to have it passed to you.
If you have a special event such as a wedding or holiday you can have a practice dinner at home. Set the table fancy and give your children an opportunity to visualize what to expect during the meal. You can also have the children get involved by helping set the table, create menus or act out being a waiter.
You can also reward your children once they have accomplished many of the manners you have been working on by having a fancy meal at home or going out to dinner to celebrate.
How important are table manners to your family?
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