5 Essential Table Manners Every Child Should Know
There are fewer things that are cuter than barbeque sauce smeared across a toddlers face. However, when your 11-year-old burps the alphabet at the dinner table in front of your new neighbors, it is not so cute.
Good table manners are very important as they ultimately show respect for others. So where should you start in the non-alphabet burping table manners training? The following lists 5 essential table manners that every child should know:
1. Stay Seated
This is very difficult for the younger ones as all they can think about is getting up and running around. However, if your child can practice eating at the same pace as everyone around the table it will help them to stay seated through the meal.
Make it a game! Have everyone match the pace of everyone else eating – see if you can all finish your meal at the exact same time. This will take the focus off of sitting down and help them focus on staying in the moment.
2. Use Those 3 Little Words
· Thank you
· Excuse me
Use these words often around the dinner table. Even when at home having dinner with the family, it is good practice to say, “Please pass the bread.” “May I be excused from the table?” and best of all, “Thank you to the cook!” Complementing the cook is the height of politeness.
3. No Sloppy Sounds
The table is not a locker room…. this means it is not a place where Johnny should show off his latest armpit squeaking noise, where Suzy should pop spit bubbles or… a place to burp the alphabet. If bodily noises need to happen, have the child excuse themselves from the table.
Soups and pasta should not be slurped – learning how to monitor their sounds properly will serve your child well later in life.
4. Sit Up Straight
Posture. Yes… I know you are picturing balancing books on your head. However, sitting up strait is so important – and something that many adults even forget about. Sitting up straight is important for circulation but it also looks so much better then Slouchy Suzie. Good posture projects an image of attentiveness, engagement and even happiness.
5. Elbows (and Electronics) Off The Table
The classic rule of taking your hands off the table still rings true. What is more important is to have your child place their hands in their lap when waiting to be dished up. This rule actually differs by country – in many parts of Eastern Europe one might be seen as untrustworthy if there hands are not on the table! However, as the U.S. follows suit to British culture table manners, it is proper to keep your hands in your lap when you are not eating. And while they are at it, electronics (phones, tablets, etc.) also don’t have a place on the table. Leave them in another room.
Time spent teaching your child good table manners will not be a waste. They will encounter many social situations where these 5 essential manners will come in handy. Especially when dining out. Once more, good table manners will help your child show that they have respect for those around them.