Table Manners Every Kid Should Know
It is essential to teach kids good dining etiquette from a young age. This will help them feel comfortable and confident in any dining situation. It's your responsibility as a parent to teach them table manners.
Whether they are at a friend's house, at a large family gathering, or you decide to grab a family dinner in one of LA's best restaurants, knowing how to behave during the meal is extremely important.
Experts agree that you should start teaching your kids about table manners around age three. You can begin by talking to them about using utensils, how to sit at the table, and what sorts of things are appropriate to say during the meal.
As they get a little older, you can start teaching them more specific dining etiquette rules, such as how to use a napkin properly and how to excuse themselves from the table.
It is important to remember that kids will make mistakes and will not always remember everything you tell them. The key is to be patient and reinforce the rules of good dining etiquette.
While cultural differences can impact some specific rules of etiquette, a few basic guidelines are applicable.
Washing hands before a meal
Washing hands comes before the actual mealtime etiquette. Teaching kids to wash their hands before eating is essential, especially if they have been playing outside. Explain to them that washing their hands will help remove any dirt or germs that could make them sick.
Sitting up straight
Sitting up straight includes keeping their legs and arms under the table and not putting their elbows on the table. Sitting correctly will help them be more focused and attentive during the meal and show respect for the people they are dining with.
Chewing with mouth closed
This is another basic rule of etiquette that is important for kids to learn. It is considered rude to chew with your mouth open and can be off-putting to others. Chewing with your mouth closed will also help kids eat slowly and enjoy their food more.
No talking with a full mouth
This goes hand-in-hand with chewing with your mouth closed. It is essential to wait until you have swallowed your food before you start talking again. This will help avoid any embarrassing situations and keep the conversation flowing smoothly.
Using "please" and "thank you"
Remembering to use please and thank you is a sign of good manners. Teaching kids to use these words when requesting something from someone else or being served is a great habit. Saying please and thank you will help kids be more polite and respectful. It's also important to teach kids to treat waiters and servers with respect. This includes using please and thank you, eye contact, and patience.
Waiting for everyone to be served before eating
If you are dining with other people, it is considered good manners to wait until everyone has been served before starting to eat. This shows respect for the other people at the table and gives them a chance to settle before the meal begins.
No reaching across the table
Reaching across the table is considered rude because it invades the personal space of the person sitting on the other side. If kids need something out of their reach, they should ask the person next to them to pass it.
Keeping your hands and feet to yourself
This rule is essential for both personal space and safety. Kids should keep their hands and feet to themselves to avoid accidentally hurting someone or making them feel uncomfortable.
No cell phones at the table
This is a rule that is becoming increasingly important in today's world. Using your cell phone at the table is rude and can distract other people. If adults need to use their cell phones, they should step away from the table to set a good example for kids.
No playing with food
This is a basic rule of etiquette that everyone should follow. It is not only rude, but it can also be dangerous if kids are playing with sharp objects or hot food. Also, playing with food shows disrespect for the people who prepared it.
Avoid criticizing the food
If kids don't like the food they are served, it is important to teach them to be respectful and not criticize it. They can politely ask for something else if they have allergies, dietary restrictions, or they just don't like the food.
Using utensils and napkins
Using utensils and napkins is a sign of good manners. It is essential to teach kids to use them correctly to avoid making a mess. Utensils should be used to eat food, not to play with, and napkins should be used to wipe their mouth and hands.
Clearing the plate
This rule is often debated, but it is generally considered good manners to clear your plate when you are finished eating. If kids are full or don't like the food, they can politely ask to have their plate removed.
Excusing yourself from the table
If kids need to leave the table for any reason, it is essential to teach them to excuse themselves. This shows respect for the people they are dining with and avoids awkward situations.
Being respectful of other cultures
If you are dining with someone from another culture, it is essential to respect their customs. Prepare your children to be open-minded and try new things. This will help them to avoid any offensive situations.
This is an essential rule for both kids and adults. It is important to teach kids to be patient when dining, especially if they are waiting for food or someone else. Being patient will help to avoid any stressful situations.
Interrupting is considered rude and can be very frustrating for others. Teaching kids to avoid interrupting when someone else is speaking is essential. They can wait their turn or raise their hand if they have something to say.