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!
Teach your kids table manners now, so that good table manners become their everyday habits. Then when your son has dinner at his new girlfriend’s house or your daughter has an important interview over breakfast, they’re prepared and confident. They won’t be distracted by nerve-wracking doubts like, “Which bread plate is mine?” or “What should I do with my fork?”
They will know because you prepared them. Dining with confidence starts at the family dinner table.
When my kids were younger, I struggled to teach them table manners because I wanted our family to enjoy dinner time. Nagging and pleading are just no fun!
After doing some reading and getting creative, I found it was possible to teach my family table manners in a stress-free way. Overtime (and with a little patience), my family mastered table manners and even came to understand why they’re important!
I’ve taught thousands of young people table manners through workshops, junior cotillions, and after school classes. Good table manners build confidence in young people and prepare them for their future both socially and professionally.
But what exactly do you need to teach them and how? Below are some tips to help you teach table manners at home plus the five manners I recommend you begin with.
A few pointers to help you teach your family good table manners:
1– 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.
2– Make a list of the particular table manners (see the checklist below) 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.
3– 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 ;).
4– 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.
5– Enroll your kids in a manners-themed classes to reinforce what you’re teaching at home and give children an opportunity to practice their manners in a fun, socially safe setting. Hiring an etiquette teacher for private instruction is another option but can be expensive.
6– Sign up to get your free copy of The Busy Moms Guide to Raising Confident, Considerate, and Mannerly Kids for more help on this topic. Just enter your email here:
✔ Checklist: Five Table Manners Your Family Needs to Know
This list is a great starting point and will give your family a solid foundation.
- What is where on the table: correct placement of the fork, knife, spoon, napkin, drink, bread plate, etc. in a place setting
- 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
- How to use the knife & fork correctly: cutting food and eating correctly, the resting/finished position for utensils and appropriate bite size
- How to enjoy each others’ company at the table: making appropriate and positive conversation and using The Fab Four (also known as magic words)
- Dining Courtesies: when to start eating, posture, complimenting and thanking the person who provided the meal for you, excusing yourself from the table, and how to pass food correctly
Wishing you happy dining, Moms!
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