Let’s do some math! 365 x 3 = 1,095
You and your family will eat about 1,095 meals in a year.
If your children are going to do something over a thousand times a year, shouldn’t they know how to do it correctly?
Yes, of course, they should!
Having good table manners builds confidence in young people and prepares them for their future both socially and professionally.
Teach your kids table manners now, so that table manners become their everyday good habits.
Then when your children are older and have important events over meals, they will be confident and ready.
They won’t be distracted by nerve-wracking doubts like:
“Which bread plate is mine?”
“What should I do with my fork?”
They will know because you prepared them!
When my kids were younger, I struggled to teach them table manners because I wanted to relax and enjoy our mealtimes.
Using a little creativity (and some patience), I taught my family table manners in a stress-free way and we even had some fun with it!
You know it’s important to teach your children good table manners, but you may be wondering…
“What exactly should I teach them, and how do I teach them without nagging and stress?”
Below are some tips to help you teach table manners at home, plus the five manners I recommend you begin with.
5 tried and true table manners teaching tips
1. Get your free copy of my Family Table Manners Checklist. It lists the most important table manners your children need to know, and you’ll get my top 5 tips to help you teach your family table manners in a fun and stress-free way.
Click here, and I’ll send you the list right away.
2. Do your best to use good table manners yourself to set the right example. If you’d like to brush up on your own table manners, read a good resource book such as Emily Post’s Etiquette.
3. Make a list of the particular table manners that you feel are most important for your children to learn. Then choose one to concentrate on at each meal. Don’t try to cover too much at once.
4. When teaching your children, gentle reminders are best. Try not to overreact when you see your teen stuff half his steak in his mouth. Simply say, “Remember to take smaller bites,” and grit your teeth silently ;).
5. Consistency is important. Require and use good table manners at every meal whether you’re at the kitchen table, at Subway for a quick sandwich, or in a nice restaurant for a celebration dinner.
6. Enroll your kids in manners-themed classes to reinforce what you’re teaching at home and allow them to practice their manners in a fun, socially safe setting. In my manners classes business, I’ve taught hundreds of young people table manners through workshops, junior cotillions, and after-school classes.
I offer an online table manners class for families also. More details are here.
✔ The Top Five Basic Table Manners Your Family Needs to Know
This list is a starting point and will give your family a solid foundation to continue to build upon.
1. The basics of what is where at the place setting: correct placement of the fork, knife, spoon, napkin, drink, and bread plate
2. How to use the napkin: the do’s and don’ts, including what to do with it when you leave the table momentarily and when your meal is finished
3. How to use the knife & fork correctly: cutting food and eating correctly, the resting/finished position for utensils, and appropriate bite size
4. How to enjoy each others’ company at the table: making appropriate and positive conversation and using The Fab Four (also known as magic words)
5. Basic dining courtesies: such as when to start eating, posture at the table, and excusing yourself from the table
In my manners classes business, I’ve taught hundreds of young people table manners through workshops, junior cotillions, and after-school classes. Table manners are my favorite manners topic to teach!
Susanne Stewart says
OH my gosh!!! I didn’t know there were cotillions anymore!!! My stepmother made me go when I was young. We learned party manners, how to sit like a lady and lots of ball room dances, it was great!
I used to work at a Career and Technical School and one of our teachers taught a class on table manners. This was about 6-7 years ago. I don’t know if the students absorbed her lesson, but I sure did (as well as the other teachers!). To this day, when we dine together, no one passes the salt or the pepper by themselves. They always go together. Also, we always remember that if we make a circle with our thumb and index finger with both hands, with the rest of our fingers straightened, we have created a b with our left hand (bread) and a d with our right hand (drink), so when we are at big banquets we know which tableware is ours, and which is our neighbor’s.
Yes, Suzanne! Junior Cotillions are still thriving! I direct a couple locally and it is so much fun for the students (and me too)! As you remember, we teach table manners, how to introduce yourself, how to make polite and engaging conversation plus contemporary skills such as netiquette & smartphone manners.
Thanks for stopping by The Mannerly Mom!
Hi, Melony! You did learn a lot at that presentation. I use the “ok” sign= b & d in my classes to teach which side your drink is on and which side your bread plate is on. These little bits of knowledge do build confidence!
I also remind students that what is most important at the dining table is being courteous, kind and engaging (no cell phones!).
Thanks for stopping by The Mannerly Mom!
Thank you for sharing this, my kids have grown up, but I remember it was not always easy to teach them some basic manners. We all could use a refresher, but that is not likely to happen. Thanks for the pointers, I will remember them for when the grandkiddies come.
Thank you for stopping by The Mannerly Mom, Marjan! Table manners are confidence building and can be taught in a positive, fun way. Have fun with your grandchildren!
I needed a friendly reminder to be teaching my kids proper etiquette! Sometimes I think I just get in survival mode trying to make sure everyone eats and stays seated and that dinner doesn’t take five hours lol! Your 5 points are a great starting point for me!