By Lisa Edwards, Parent Coach
With any large celebration or holiday, you may find yourself, with your children seated around a large dinner table surrounded by friends and family. This is a happy time, and you want to make sure that your children are using their best table manners…because of course, you always want to impress Grandma!
Here are some sure fire ways to make sure your child is wowing the crowd with their manners…and not their burps!
How to Teach Table Manners
Here are two simple steps to make teaching table manners a snap! Modeling and Practicing.
Model – Make sure that you as an adult are modeling these behaviors for your children. They learn most by watching at a young age. If they see you using these manner, they will start to do them too.
Practice – As with all things, your child may need practice to perfect a new skill. You may have to start by explaining what all of these manners are. Then have family dinners together to practice these skills. They need opportunities to practice (and fail) before they will start to do these behaviors naturally.
7 Easy Table Manners
- Wait for everyone to be served before eating – The general rule is to make sure that everyone has their food before you start digging into that hot delicious meal in front of you. Patience can be the hardest.
- Napkin in your lap – Don’t forget to also teach your children what the napkin is for…although it seems easier to just wipe your hands on your pants or shirt.
- Don’t reach across the table – Have children ask for items using the phrase, “Please pass the …”
- Chew with mouth closed – Do you like seafood? Get it..”See food”. No, nobody wants to see that! This is the worst joke ever for any dinner party!
- Say Please and Thank you – Practicing these two words to the point where your children use them naturally? You have made it as a parent!
- No elbows on the table – Or any body parts! Make sure to sit up at the table and be ready to engage in the conversation.
- Take your plate to the sink and always say thank you to the cook. – This is an excellent way to end any meal. Compliment the chef by saying thank you and then make a point to help clear the table.
If you follow all 8 of these easy table manners, you will be guaranteed an invite back to the table.
Helpful Tip for a Picky Eater
One last tip is to make sure you prepare your child for any challenges that may come ahead. For instance, if you are on your way to Grandma’s house and you know that your child is a picky eater, you may want to prepare them if they find themselves not liking anything that has been prepared. Remind them of what an appropriate response would be when they are offered a food they don’t like. My son was very picky and sometimes I would feed him before we got to someone else’s house, just in case he didn’t like anything. We also have a deal where he has to at least try a little bit of some of the food that are there. He was much happier with a full belly and knowing that he only had to try new foods.
Please share below or in our Facebook Group any hints you have to share about how to help your picky eater in social situations.
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