Life Improving Guide

10 Mealtime etiquette for kids

Nowadays, parents are barely left with any time for themselves, let alone for their kids. The situation only gets worse if both members are working. With this being the case, the kids these days are rarely taught about the much needed etiquette, be it on the table or on the phone. Parents realize its needed when they are at a social get together, when guests visit or when they visit a relative etc. Table manners are important etiquettes that need to be inculcated in kids. First, by teaching your kids some of the dos and don’ts for the dining table, you would be able to escape the embarrassment of having un-mannered kids. Second, kids who are taught table manners, have a more polished behavior and are a treat to the eyes of anyone who get to see them at the dining table. Children learn to be patient, to share, to behave when introduced to table etiquette. Teaching these things when the children are young helps in building personality and character.

To start with, here are 10 simple tips at meal time manners for kids:

1. Catch them young

Kids around the age of two are at ideal age to be introduced to the basic table manners. Teach them to request, to say thank you, and ask to be excused. Since kids at this age are too young to question the reason and importance of table manners, your job of teaching them these would be a lot simpler. When kids do this repeatedly, it becomes a habit which slowly transforms itself into an inseparable part of their personality when they grow up. You would be proud for having raised polished, decent, and extremely well mannered children.

2. Beware of silverware

The number of forks and spoons by your side of plate is likely to unnerve both young and the old. Not knowing what to use and when seems to be a common dilemma most people are in when at the table. Kids therefore are not very experts at these too. The simplest way to approach and curb this confusion is with the aid of math. The number of pieces of silverware corresponds with each course that is being served. For example, should you be given three forks, it should be understood that this most likely means that a salad, an entrée and dessert will be served.

3. Encourage the usage of napkin

Encourage kids to use the napkin by placing it on their laps. This will help them use it instead of using their hands to wipe their mouths with. This will add an air of sophistication and royalty to the kid’s personality. Also, teach them that they are only supposed to dab their mouths with the napkin and not smear it all over their face. Remind them that should not blow their nose or burp loudly when at the table, and then they would only be making all the others at the table want to flee.

4. Teach them to be patient

Make the kids learn the importance of waiting when at the table. Tell them that they are not wild animals to get into a wild frenzy the moment food is in sight. The journey of the food from the container to the kid’s plate should be a smooth one, without the kids pouncing on one another trying to grab their favorite dish and thereby making a mess of the whole table. They should be taught to wait until the dinner has been served to all and until the host/ hostess is seated. This is the most important niceties that separate your dining table from the African wild animals’ feeding ground.

5. Teach them to eat silently without making noise

Discourage your kids from speaking when they have a mouthful of food. Chomping loudly and eating noisily is perhaps the most disrespectful breach of table etiquettes. Let them know that people judge them about their upbringing by looking at the way they eat their food. It gives away most of the person’s traits like selfishness, vain headedness, aloofness, arrogance, etc.

6. Art of conversation

How would you like, if you were dining with a bunch of your close friends and your kid repeatedly interrupts you asking you to buy him that new toy that his classmate has? It can be extremely irritating to both you and your guests when kids trouble with all their tantrums. They should therefore be taught to wait their turn to converse when there are adults speaking at the table. It’s not that kids should munch on their food in total silence or something; it’s just that they need to know when they can talk so that they wouldn’t be interrupting the elders amidst their conversation.

7. Bring the food to your mouth and not the other way round

Kids must be encouraged to sit up straight, and bring the food to their mouth and not vice versa. Hungry kids can rarely resist food and they would go closer and closer to their plates so that they can quickly get to their dish. Since this would appear rather savage, dissuade them from doing so.

8. Having food the right way

Teach them things like tearing a piece of bread or biscuit off, butter the piece and eat that instead of shoving the entire biscuit into his mouth. When attempting to eat things that require a knife, keep the knife on the side of the plate in between bites. Proper etiquette encourages the resting of silverware on the plate from time to time.

9. Teach them the polite way to leave the table

Kids find their surroundings a lot more interesting than we adults and this usually happens when the entire family is dining together. Chances are always rife that kids might get bored with all the grown up conversations that’s happening around it and may therefore want to leave the table at the slightest pretext. That’s not a problem. Only how he leaves is what matters. Teach them to ask for excuse. A “may I be excused” makes them look like kids of blue blood.

10. Clear your table

Make your little kids understand that they haven’t done a favor to you by eating their food. They should be taught to help you clear the table and clean up the mess without being asked for it.

Everyone loves a well mannered kid and raising them that way makes them shine in a civilized world.

Dr Prem Jagyasi and Team

Dr Prem is an award winning strategic leader, renowned author, publisher and highly acclaimed global speaker. Aside from publishing a bevy of life improvement guides, Dr Prem runs a network of 50 niche websites that attracts millions of readers across the globe. Thus far, Dr Prem has traveled to more than 40 countries, addressed numerous international conferences and offered his expert training and consultancy services to more than 150 international organizations. He also owns and leads a web services and technology business, supervised and managed by his eminent team. Dr Prem further takes great delight in travel photography.

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