Whether it’s for a family gathering, school event, or a regular dinner at home, learning table manners is a must for your child. It promotes good health and hygiene at an early age. It will also give him the confidence to dine and interact with people.
Here are some table manners you can teach your kid for a more pleasant dining experience.
#1 Come to the dining table with clean hands and face
Make sure to educate him about the importance of cleanliness, especially when eating. Tell him to clean his face and wash his hands before eating to show respect for everyone at the table and to show proper hygiene. Washing hands also removes germs that could lead to infections or illnesses.
#2 Place the napkin on the lap before eating
Putting a napkin on the lap is an often overlooked table manner especially when dining inside the house. However, for more formal affairs, it is an important task that reminds kids to wipe their hands using the napkin instead of licking it off their fingers. If the napkin is too big, they may fold it in half.
#3 Wait until everyone is seated and served—or ask if you may start eating
In some instances, the host will tell guests to start eating and serve themselves already, especially if the food is served buffet-style. However, if food is served on the table, it is best to wait for everyone to be seated first and the host to invite the guests to get their food. When in doubt, kids can also be taught to ask first before serving themselves.
#4 Close mouth while chewing
This is a common problem among kids—especially in less formal setting. This also includes talking while eating. You can show him what proper and improper chewing of food look like so he can tell the difference and appreciate the need to chew with his mouth closed. And while on the topic of chewing, make sure he chews thoroughly for easier digestion.
#5 Don’t just leave the table
If he has to leave the table, refrain from just leaving everyone and instead, politely ask for permission and quietly go back to his seat. If he is done eating and cannot wait for everyone to finish, asking if he can go ahead is the best he can do.
#6 Do not force to reach for something
To avoid food spilling on the table, do not force to get food from the other side of the table. Your child should be taught to politely ask the other people on the table to pass something he needs. He may use phrases like “Can you please pass…” or “May I please get the…”
#7 Say “Thank you” and “Please”
Say “Thank you” to show appreciation to the host or to anyone who has helped him. “Please” must be uttered when trying to ask for favour from someone.