Learning good table manners is an essential part of children’s social confidence. I’m here to help!
My Everyday Etiquette after-school students love learning table manners (and it’s one of my favorite topics to teach).
Because most of my children’s manners classes are after-school programs in schools, I’ve had to find creative ways to teach table manners using minimal materials and simple foods.
Today I’m sharing an easy-to-teach table manners lesson to use in your classroom or at home.
When in a classroom setting, I use disposable plates, bowls, spoons, and napkins for this lesson. If you’re at home, you may want to use real dishes, silverware, and a nice napkin. Kids have fun with the unexpected, so serving goldfish “soup” is a fun surprise for them.
Give each student a bowl, underplate, spoon, and napkin. Put a scoop of goldfish in each bowl. Share these teaching points as children eat their “soup.”
1- Soup is often a first course at dinner or can be part of the main course.
2- Soup is served in a bowl, a cup, or a soup plate. *Show the students a soup plate or a picture of one.*
3- Often you will be given a special spoon to use to eat your soup- a soup spoon. Hold the spoon horizontally and similar to how you hold a pencil. Do not hold the spoon like a shovel! *Show students an actual soup spoon or a picture of one, so they can see how it is different than other spoons.*
4- Adding crackers and other toppings to your soup is okay, but don’t make a crumbly mess with them. Neatly break each cracker into 4-5 pieces and place them on the soup.
5- Remember to use good posture when eating. You may lean over the bowl slightly when bringing the spoon to your mouth. *Demonstrate this and have the students try it.*
6- Between bites, rest your spoon on the underplate. Do not leave it in the bowl.
7- It’s best to sip the soup from the side of the spoon, not the front tip. Fill the spoon about ½ to 2/3 full with the soup, which helps you eat it neatly. *Have the students try this.*
8- Spoon the soup away from you. Have you heard the rhyme, Like ships that sail out to sea, I spoon my soup away from me? *Have the students practice this.*
9– Soup should be eaten quietly. No slurping!
10– Do not add ice or blow on your soup to cool it. Be patient. You may gently stir the soup to cool it.
11– Do not drink soup from the bowl.
12- You may tilt the bowl away from you to scoop the last bits of soup. *Have the students try this.*
While the students enjoy their soup, you can include additional table manners teaching, such as napkin manners and posture at the table.
Get your free copy of The Family Table Manners Checklist, plus you’ll get my top 5 tips to help you teach your children table manners in a fun and stress-free way.
Remember, good manners and social confidence begin at the family table!