We all want our children to have good manners. As parents, we regularly tell and guide our children to behave properly. In addition to teaching them good manners, it is equally important to teach them good table manners. Good table manners helps in boosting your child’s confidence in addition to demonstrating effective parenting. In this post, Table Manners For Kids, we talk about the best table manners that young children can learn and start to apply the same in a short period of time.
Teaching children proper table manners starts early in life. In most cases, parents do not give much importance to table manners as compared to teaching children other manners. Children are free to eat how they want and wherever they want. As children are great observers, they will keenly observe whether their parents are following these table manners before they start following the same.
Finally, when things get worse, parents start putting strict restrictions which become very difficult for children. In order to get the best results, it is important to cultivate an environment of guidance, motivation and love. Teach your children the benefits of following good table manners.
Table Manners For Kids
Today, we will look at some easy steps to inculcate good table manners in children.
1. Be clean and tidy
It is always important to wash your hands and face with water before having food. Hygiene is one of the most important factors in leading a healthy life. Dirt and germs cling to the fingers and nails and can be harmful to the body. Teach your children to wash their hands with soap and water before they eat their food. At the end of the meal, they again need to wash their hands clean.
It is also important for children to wash themselves and change into comfortable clothing before they have their meals. Today, many children head straight to eat their meals once they are back from school or any outside place. Children should be taught the importance of maintaining a proper hygiene level.
2. Wait for everyone in the family to come and then start the meal.
This is one of the basic table manners which needs to be reiterated to the younger generation. Very often children grab their plates and help themselves, without waiting for anyone to come and join.
In our family, saying grace (thanks to god) before the meal is an important way of bringing everyone to the table and then starting the meal. You can also start by saying a prayer of Thanks before the meal.
3. Never fill your plate to the brim. Try and eat small portions.
Always teach your children to eat in small portions. Tell them to take only what they can finish. They can always help themselves a second time. Discourage them from wasting their food. Teach your children to respect their food and not to waste the same.
Many children overfill their plate and then they are unable to finish it. If they are habituated to do this at home, sure enough, they will do it outside as well. This is considered very inappropriate and leaves a bad taste. If you teach them the right things, children will understand and follow them appropriately.
4. Do not keep your mouth open while eating.
Many children eat with their mouth open, leading to noise and also spilling of food pieces from the mouth. Teach them to chew the food slowly without making noise. Further, do not encourage them to talk while eating. This is one of the basic etiquettes which need to be followed.
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5. Use hands, spoons or forks appropriately.
Most Indians prefer eating with their hands, which is fine. However since we try different cuisines from different parts of the world, it is important to use a fork and spoon as appropriate. Western or Chinese cuisine needs a fork, spoon or chopsticks etc. However, you can encourage your children to use a fork and spoon as it will help to keep their hands free and they can still enjoy their meal.
6. Always ask others to pass the dishes if they are far away.
Many times you find children getting up from their seats and reaching out to the dishes which are far away. In the process, they spill food and make it uncomfortable for others. Advise your children to ask for help in passing and sharing the dishes.
7. Respect the food which is served and eat it.
This is one of the most challenging things for parents. Teach your children to avoid passing any bad comments on the food, even if they don’t like the same. Encourage them to finish their food without fiddling with it on the table. Playing with food should be strictly discouraged.
8. Encourage your children to be polite in their communication.
This is one of the most challenging things for parents to do in this generation. Children need to be taught and encouraged to be polite in their communication with everyone. If you are eating out, tell them to say thanks, please and excuse me, to people who serve them. Good table manners always stands out and this will also help children to appreciate others. Inculcating this social behavior will help them to lead a grateful and happy life.
9. Avoid toys, pets or electronic gadgets on the table.
In today’s world of advanced technology gadgets, children love to carry their ipads, smartphones etc., on the table. Give clear instructions to focus and concentrate on eating. This rule should be applicable to both, children and adults. Let the meal time be a place of sharing and understanding.
10. Avoid burping while eating food.
Burping is bad manners. Children love to make burp sounds. Explain to your children and set the boundaries. Tell your children that burping is considered bad manners and will not be appreciated by people around them.
Some of the other table manners are listed below –
- Take your hat or cap off at the dinner table.
- Place the serviette on your lap when you are seated.
- Cut the food into small pieces before putting the same in your mouth.
- Wait for the food to cool down before starting to eat.
- Avoid using hands, but use the given cutlery to eat.
- Avoid taking food from other people’s plate.
- Sit straight without slouching.
- Do not blow your nose on the table but excuse yourself and use the bathroom.
- After finishing the food, wait for everyone to finish and till then remain seated.
These are some basic table manners which need to be inculcated in your children. All round development of children include good table manners as it helps in boosting the self-confidence and self-esteem of children. Everyone appreciates good table manners and this will help boost the confidence of your children. So start early to teach your children the right table manners.
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