Teaching good table manners to kids
Teaching good table manners to kids will help your child’s social skills to navigate through school, friends and empower them with the confidence to grasp the art of talking, listening and observing.
Social etiquette and table manners begin at home and these are ways to express empathy and respect while teaching responsibility, self control, engagement and cooperation.
Sit down with your child at a time other than dinner and gently explain what you expect. Write it down or draw pictures to make it more interesting, so that they translate the same manners while dining out or at home.
Here are some handy tips to help you bring out the best in your child:
Table manners at a home or a restaurant
- The cutlery for a fine dining meal is laid out with precision.
- Use the cutlery placed on both the extremities and work your way inwards.
- Scoop your soup away from you. But don’t spill it on the person sitting across you.
- Bring the food to your mouth; don’t lean forward towards the food to eat it.
- Cut one piece at a time on your plate and eat it before cutting the next one.
- Always pass salt and pepper together, even if somebody asks only for salt.
- While at a restaurant, never shout out to the waiter. Make eye contact. And in case your eyes don’t meet, raise your right hand with the index finger slightly raised.
- Do not lick your knife or put it in your mouth. You don’t want to end up with a slashed tongue.
- Eat with your mouth closed. Food looks good on your plate and not in your mouth.
- Butter bread on your plate, never in midair.
- Do not pick the food stuck to your canines with your fingernails. Use a toothpick. If there’s none at the table, go to the bathroom and do the honours.
- And lastly, always thank the host before leaving.
Table manners at a school
- Come to the table with clean hands and face.
- Carry two napkins – one for your lap and one for the table
- Put your napkin on your lap.
- Stay seated and sit up straight.
- Keep elbows (and other body parts!) off the table while eating.
- Don’t make bad comments about the food.
- Don’t go cutting all your food open at once. Easy, tiger! Cut one bite at a time.
- Say “Please pass the —” instead of reaching out across the table.
- Don’t make rude noises like burping or slurping.
- Ask to be excused when finished.
- Don’t overfill your spoon; smaller bites mean better digestion and no spillage.
- Share your meal but hand over the box instead of balancing food on a spoon across the table – again, no spillage.
- Respect your school property; if you spill something clean it up.
- Don’t leave marks on the table; carry tissue and take pride in the school’s cleanliness.
- Carry a sipper bottle so that no water is spilled accidentally.
- Wash your hands and face properly after a meal. The smell of unwashed hands can stink up a classroom.
Note to parents: As much as you would like your kids to learn good table manners do.
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(This article/text/quote/image is shared in good spirit to strengthen the education system.)