Table Manners For Kids

by Claire Valenty on January 29, 2010

in Table Manners

table children etiquette

Ah, children. They’re the light of your life, but, they can be pure hell when taking them out to eat in public. Although you may be able to tune them out, there is nothing worse for your fellow diners then to have to listen to them whining, screaming and throwing their silverware around. Now, to all you fabulous parents out there with perfect angels who behave absolutely wonderfully in restaurants, this article on table manners for kids isn’t for you. In fact, you probably didn’t even click on this link. Then again, everyone thinks their children are always perfect angels, so, I wonder if anyone will click…. For those of you that clicked on this link in hopes it would give you some step by step instructions on how to politely approach a family when you are eating dinner in a nice restaurant and their kids are behaving like maniacs, sorry, but this won’t help you either. That is the waiter’s job, and unless you want a good tongue lashing from the parents, it is suggested you either suck it up or ask to be reseated.

For those parents who are able to admit that maybe their children get a little rambunctious when eating out, or maybe you’re attending a dinner party and want to know what you can do to prep your kids before hand, this article on table manners for kids will be a lifesaver. The top nine tips to pass on to your children are:

* Chew with your mouth closed.
* Give the food to the person next to you to pass the dish around the table; don’t reach across someone else’s plate.
* Use a fork, unless it’s finger food.
* Place a napkin on your lap after being seated.
* Don’t pick your teeth at the table.
* Say thank you to the host/server.
* Never insult the food.
* Keep your elbows off the table.
* Don’t interrupt others’ conversations.

The most important rule is practice, practice, practice. Do trial runs at home and hold your children to the same expectations you would as if you were out in public. No, you are not stifling them or trying to control them; you are merely showing them what society expects of them and how they will be viewed as charming, polite and well behaved children if they act in a certain way. Kids eat that stuff up! No pun intended. And remember, kids learn by example better than by just telling them. Make sure you’re not slacking off on your American table manners and they will quickly follow suit!

Photo: 123rf/Cathy Yeulet

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