How to have good table manners

This article was co-authored by Tami Claytor. Tami Claytor is an Etiquette Coach, Image Consultant, and the Owner of Always Appropriate Image and Etiquette Consulting in New York, New York. With over 20 years of experience, Tami specializes in teaching etiquette classes to individuals, students, companies, and community organizations. Tami has spent decades studying cultures through her extensive travels across five continents and has created cultural diversity workshops to promote social justice and cross-cultural awareness. She holds a BA in Economics with a concentration in International Relations from Clark University. Tami studied at the Ophelia DeVore School of Charm and the Fashion Institute of Technology, where she earned her Image Consultant Certification.

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Whether you’ve been invited to a dinner party or you’re going out to eat, brushing up on your table manners is a good way to prepare. Having table manners can leave a great impression on your fellow guests, and it will help everyone feel happy and comfortable as they enjoy their meal. We’ve compiled a list of things to remember at the dinner table so you can enjoy delicious food and fun times with your friends and family members.

For Meals in a Social or Professional Setting

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How to have good table manners

The Spruce / Margot Cavin

Regardless of where you are eating, proper etiquette at the table is important. Even when it’s just you and your family having a meal together, you still want to set an example for your kids.

Dining Out

Although dining out has become more casual, it still isn’t acceptable to talk with your mouth full of food, rock the table with your elbows, or interfere with other diners’ experiences by displaying improper etiquette. It’s important to follow certain manners guidelines in both formal settings and fast food restaurants.

Learn Table Manners Basics

Table manners are important in both professional and social situations, so it’s a good idea to know some basics. There may be some slight variations, depending on your region and what is locally acceptable. So if you are at a dinner party, pay close attention to the host or hostess and take cues from them.

Whether no one ever taught you dining etiquette or you’ve forgotten what you learned, here are some tips to show that you know how to behave at the table. Using proper etiquette at the table will also help you socially and professionally in a restaurant or in someone’s home.

Before the Dinner

If you are invited to have dinner with someone, it is always a good idea to respond, even if an RSVP is not requested. This helps with planning. Don’t ask if you can bring extra guests if the invitation doesn’t make the offer. However, if your family is invited to someone’s home for dinner, it is okay to ask if your children are included. If they are, make sure your children know good manners before they go.

When you are dining at the home of a friend, it is a good idea to bring a host or hostess gift. Don’t expect your gift to be used during the meal. Most dinner parties have carefully planned menu items, and your gift may not go with the meal.

Getting Started

Some dinner parties are formal and have place cards where the host or hostess wants you to sit. If not, ask if there are seating preferences. Wait until the host sits before you do. In some cultures, a blessing will be said. Even if you don’t follow the beliefs of the prayer, show respect and be silent. If the host offers a toast, lift your glass. It is not necessary to “clink” someone else’s glass.

Napkin

As soon as you sit down, turn to your host or hostess and take a cue for when to begin. Once the host unfolds his or her napkin, you should remove your napkin from the table or plate, and place it on your lap. If you are dining out, you should place your napkin in you lap immediately after you sit down.

Keep your napkin in your lap until you are finished eating. If you must get up at any time during the meal and plan to return, place the napkin on either side of your plate. After you are finished, place your napkin on the table to the left of your plate.

When to Eat

If you are eating out, you should wait until all the members of your group have been served before picking up your fork. At a private dinner, observe the host or hostess and pick up your fork when he or she does. However, if you are at a buffet, you may start when there are others seated at your table.

Silverware

One of the most common issues to confuse today’s diners is which utensil to use for each course. A typical rule of thumb is to start with the utensil that is farthest from your plate and work your way toward the center of your place setting.

If you see the host or hostess doing something different, you may follow his or her lead. The important thing is to remain as inconspicuous as possible. You don’t want to call negative attention to yourself.

For dinners where food is served at the table, the dishes should be passed in a counter-clockwise flow. Never reach across the table for anything. Instead, ask that condiments be passed from the person closest to the item. Salt and pepper should be passed together. Always use serving utensils and not your own to lift food from the serving dish.

Eating

Table manners were designed to keep people from scarfing food down like animals, so learn them before you eat with others. One of the most important things to keep in mind is that you should never call attention to yourself by blatantly breaking the rules set by society.

Here are some essential dining etiquette rules that you should follow:

  • Turn off your cell phone before sitting down. It is rude to talk on your phone or text while in the company of others.
  • Never talk when you have food in your mouth. That’s just gross. Even if someone asks you a question, wait until you swallow before answering.
  • Taste your food before you add salt, pepper, or other seasoning. Doing otherwise may be insulting to the host or hostess. If you are dining with a prospective employer, the person may perceive you as someone who acts without knowing the facts.
  • Don’t cut all your food before you begin eating. Cut one or two bites at a time.
  • Never blow on your food. If it is hot, wait a few minutes for it to cool off. Scoop your soup away from you.
  • Some foods are meant to be eaten with your fingers. Follow the lead of the host or hostess.
  • If you are drinking from a stemmed glass, hold it by the stem.
  • Break your bread into bite-sized pieces and butter only one bite at a time.
  • Try at least one or two bites of everything on your plate, unless you are allergic to it.
  • Compliment the hostess if you like the food, but don’t voice your opinion if you don’t.
  • Use your utensils for eating, not gesturing.
  • Keep your elbows off the table. Rest the hand you are not using in your lap.
  • Eat slowly and pace yourself to finish at the same approximate time as the host or hostess.
  • Avoid burping or making other rude sounds at the table.
  • If you spill something at a restaurant, signal one of the servers to help. If you spill something at a private dinner party in someone’s home, pick it up and blot the spill. Offer to have it professionally cleaned if necessary.
  • When you finish eating, leave your utensils on your plate or in your bowl.
  • Never use a toothpick or dental floss at the table.
  • You may reapply your lipstick, but don’t freshen the rest of your makeup at the table.

After the Meal

After you finish eating, partially fold your napkin and place it to the left of your plate. Wait until the host or hostess signals that the meal is over, and then you may stand. After the meal is over, don’t eat and run. If nothing is planned after dinner, stick around for approximately an hour before saying good-bye to the host and thanking him or her for the dinner. If the event is informal, you may offer to help clean up.

Later

Always send the host or hostess a thank you note or card in the mail, and don’t wait more than a day or two after the event. Address the host or hostess, thank him or her for the lovely dinner, and add another short, positive comment to show your appreciation. Your note may be brief but heartfelt.

Cara Lustik is a fact checker and copywriter.

How to have good table manners

Whether you’re eating at home, dining out, or having dinner with friends, good table manners for kids are an important part of every meal. When you teach your child good mealtime etiquette, you are giving them important tools for social interaction that will serve them for the rest of their lives.

Laying the groundwork can really start when your child begins to speak and use utensils. And as with much of parenting, this will take a while to catch on. What’s most important? Keeping things pressure-free and modeling the behaviors you want them to adopt.

Table Manners for Little Kids

Every meal can serve as an opportunity for kids to learn how to exercise proper etiquette. From using their utensils properly to waiting until everyone has been served, little kids can learn how to be respectful and practice table manners.

Be patient but consistent in your instruction and your kids will eventually get the hang of things.

Here are some basic things you can begin to teach kids 5 and under:

Come to the Table With Hands and Face Clean

Teach children to wash up before dinner. Not only does this show respect for the person who prepared the meal as well as others at the dinner table, but it is also an important healthy hygiene habit.

Wait Until Everyone Is Served Before Eating

Teach your child that they should not begin eating until everyone is seated and served. Starting to eat before everyone has been seated is disrespectful. Dinner is meant to be enjoyed together.

Chew With Your Mouth Closed

Chewing with your mouth closed and not talking when your mouth is full are two cardinal rules of good table manners. Gently remind your child of this if they forget.

Avoid Stuffing Your Mouth

Teach your child to take small bites and never wolf down their food.

One way they can practice this habit is to put their fork down between bites. They can even put their hands in their lap while they chew.

Be Polite

If they ask for seconds or for someone to pass something, they should follow the request with “please.”

They also should say thank you to the person who prepared the meal and anyone serving them.

Use Utensils and Napkins

With few exceptions, like pizza and hamburgers, kids should be discouraged from eating with their hands—especially if they have moved beyond finger foods. Show them how to hold their fork properly.

In addition, teach them to place a napkin in their lap—and remind them to use that instead of their clothes when wiping their hands or mouth.

Refrain From Criticizing the Food

In preschool, teachers often tell kids: “Don’t yuck another person’s yum.” Acknowledge that it’s OK that they don’t like something, but remind them that that doesn’t mean others agree.

It is also worth explaining to them that they can express gratitude for the food and the work that went into preparing it without actually liking what they were served.

That said, kids should not be forced to eat something they don’t want. It’s OK if they say “no thank you.” While you can ask that they try new foods, don’t force them to clean their plates.

Table Manners for Bigger Kids

With each advancing year, kids will have more control over their movements and behaviors, gain more skills, and develop greater social awareness—all of which can help with table manners.

Once kids are 6 years old and older, you can teach them to:

Offer to Help

Whether at home or someone else’s house, encourage your kids to always ask the grown-up if they can help do anything to get ready for dinner.

Don’t Bring Along Electronics

Mealtime is not just about eating. It’s about connecting with those you are dining with and sharing in an experience. That’s hard to do if your child’s face is buried in a screen.

Teach them that not only is it disrespectful to bring electronics to the table, but using them there means they are missing out on connection and togetherness.

Take Cues From the Host

Let your kids know that when the host puts their napkin on their lap, that’s the signal for them to put their napkin on their lap.

Avoid Interrupting

At the dinner table, practice having your child wait their turn to speak. Get kids into the habit of talking about news, their friends, how school was, and other interesting subjects. Specific prompts can help.

Avoid Reaching

Remind your child never to reach across the table to get something. Create the habit of asking other people at the table to pass something they need.

Put Their Napkin on the Chair

Teach your child that they should always put their napkin on the chair if they briefly leave the table. A used napkin should never go on their plate or the table.

Ask to Be Excused

While it’s better if your child remains at the table until everyone has finished, it’s also acceptable to ask for permission to be excused if they have finished and the adults are lingering and talking.

Sitting for a long time at a dinner table can be challenging for some kids.

Tidy Up

Teach your child that they are responsible for the plate they ate off of. Leftovers should be cleared into the trash and their plate, utensils, and cup should be placed in the sink or whatever place you have designated.

When your child gets up from the table, they should push their chair back against the table.

A Word From Verywell

Teaching good table manners is an important part of family meal time that will help your child have confidence in social situations and when dining out. Just make sure you take a low-pressure approach to instructing your kids. You don’t want mealtime to be fraught with stress and anxiety.

Instead, remind your kids that good table manners, like good manners in general, are about being respectful and showing gratitude for a meal. They also are not just reserved for social situations or public places—they are important at home, too.

By The Swaddle Team

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How to have good table manners

If you’ve got any humans in the house under the age of 18, you’ve probably wondered what you did to deserve food all over the floor, gaping full mouths, and all kinds of other shenanigans at the table… rather than the perfectly behaved kids with impeccable table manners that someone, somewhere has figured out how to raise.

We always try to put the years of research we’ve done to good use, to help parents solve these pesky questions. And so, here is our short list of things that may, with a little effort, actually drive home good table manners for kids.

Teaching children good table manners

Show, don’t tell

You’re probably sick of hearing people say this, but children are learning every little thing from you, including their table manners. You can holler about sitting properly, eating with their mouth closed, and not checking devices during dinner, but if you don’t embody good table etiquette, you’ll be that hypocrite who expects their kids to do something they can’t even do themselves!

No, but really: Kids learn from watching you, not from what you say. Teaching kids manners is mostly about monkey see, monkey do.

Be consistent

You might be very clear on why dipping food into the water glass is not OK one day — but totally ignore that behaviour on the day when you’re exhausted and don’t feel like dealing with it. Unfortunately, your kid doesn’t know the difference; she just knows that food-dipping is OK sometimes! And so, she’ll test every day to see if that day happens to be ‘sometimes.’ In other words, parents frequently cave on table manner rules due to exceptions that are clear and understandable to adults, but not clear to kids.

The best way to get your point across on table etiquette is to consistently expect it and to detail scenarios that might be exceptions. This also makes it easier to enforce your preferences regarding table manners for kids. For example, “I want you to sit at the table until everyone else is finished eating, too. The only exception is if you need to go to the bathroom, or you’re sick.”

Need your kid to eat her veggies? Try this.

Be positive

The only way to influence long-term behavioral change in your kid is to positively reinforce the behaviour you want to see more of — so, if you want good manners for your kids, fawn over them when you see them behaving well at the table.

Don’t bother nagging your kid every time he doesn’t do exactly what you want; this strategy may even work against you, as your kid realizes his miserable table manners are one more tool to get your attention. Instead, ignore the bad table manners and be sure to compliment every instance of good manners in children. You may even kick start a cycle of impeccable table manners, as your kid keeps doing it to get your positive attention.

Be patient

As much as you may want a civilized dinner table full of kids who don’t scream or throw food on the floor, this is one of those things that can only happen in due time. Even though babies develop the fine motor skills to feed themselves by about twelve months, and should be able to eat with cutlery by eighteen months, it will be a messy affair for a while. There will be food on hair, clothes, chairs, and floors. But think of those early days as an investment: the sooner your kids learn to eat on their own, the closer you’ll be to a three-year old who is totally independent at the dinner table. And don’t forget the twos and threes are all about testing boundaries, so you may get some resistance from your toddler. But in due course, with some patience, a three to four year-old should be able to sit through dinner and feed herself without making your kitchen look like a warzone.

Don’t belabor the point

Pick your battles. In the long-game of parenting, table etiquette is one of those minor nice-to-haves. Remind yourself that it’s more important to have a pleasant family dinner, full of conversation and enjoyment, than it is to have a table full of perfectly poised automatons. So, while you work on praising the good table manners in your children, setting a good example, and sticking to your guns, you can also do it within reason. Because table manners only count if everyone actually wants to sit at the table together.

How to have good table manners

Editor’s note: The following excerpt — “How to Acquire Good Manners” by Bentley Bates — was included in The Boy’s Own Book of Leadership, published in 1933.

Life is not so short but what there is always time for courtesy. –Ralph Waldo Emerson

Good manners like all other human accomplishments may be acquired by any boy if he will study himself, imitate the best models and then practice – practice. Make a little chart of your good qualities and determine to make them better. It is often easier to crowd out bad manners by good than to deliberately “pull the weeds.” Then make a list of your unfortunate qualities and set about neutralizing them by striving for their opposites. For instance, if you are selfish, study to become unselfish. If you are loud and noisy, study to be quiet. If you are critical and unfriendly, study to be generous in your praise. If you are pessimistic and blue — whistle, smile, tell good stories, find something good and beautiful in somebody every day. Every new good manner that you so develop is an achievement.

Deliberately associate with folks that have the sort of manners you wish to acquire – remember they are contagious, and when you see others that have actually achieved desirable manners, you are encouraged to believe that you, too, may have those qualities. As Lord Chesterfield suggests:

Imitate with discernment and judgment the real perfections of the good company into which you may get; copy their politeness, their carriage, their address, and the easy and well-bred turn of their conversation; but remember that, let them shine ever so bright, their vices, if they have any, are so many spots, which you would no more imitate than you would make an artificial wart upon your face, because some very handsome man had the misfortune to have a natural one upon his; but, on the contrary, think how much handsomer he would have been without it.

Constantly seek to increase your bank account of pleasing manners so that, no matter what the occasion, you can “check on it” to any extent without embarrassment. Somebody once said that Napoleon never had any manners until he was too great to need them. This is a wrong idea. Really great and forceful men are invariably men of refined manners. If you doubt it, read the lives of the world’s best, and you will easily be convinced of the great place of manners in the lives of these men, for while they each achieved fame and greatness in some special line, nevertheless they achieved greatness in the Fine Arts of Living Together.

Lord Chesterfield, in writing to his son, said:

However trifling a genteel manner may sound, it is of very great consequence towards pleasing in private life, especially the women, whom, one time and another, you will think worth pleasing; and I have known many a man from his awkwardness give people such a dislike of him at first, that all his merit could not get the better of it afterward. Whereas, a genteel manner prepossesses people in your favor, bends them towards you, and makes them wish to like you. Awkwardness can proceed from two causes: either from not having kept good company, or from not having attended to it.

Following are a few points on good manners, which are worth any boy’s time to master. “To Be Prepared,” in this connection, is as always good advice.

  • Do not stand with your hands in your pockets.
  • Never pick your teeth or clean or cut your fingernails in public.
  • Do not breathe through your mouth or talk through your nose.
  • Never listen with your mouth open.
  • Do not show ill temper when you lose at a game.
  • Do not interrupt in conversation.
  • Do not be witty at the expense of others; there is plenty of fun that is funny for everyone.
  • Never be sarcastic or ridicule one another.
  • Do not talk too loud.
  • Do not be snappish if you are teased.
  • Cultivate good table manners.
  • Do not touch a lady’s arm when you wish to speak to her.
  • Never be late to any function. Your being late may delay your hostess, and it makes it appear that you were indifferent about accepting her invitation.
  • When invited to a dinner, a reception, or any other party, word your answer formally or informally to correspond with the invitation, and include in your reply all who were mentioned in the invitation.
  • Acknowledge every invitation as promptly as possible, so that the hostess may ask someone else if you decline, or may ask someone especially for your pleasure, if you accept.
  • If you take a lady to a dinner, or to a reception, wait either outside your dressing-room door or at the head of the stairway, so that you can see when she is ready to go down.
  • Always be ready before the lady you are to escort can possibly be ready, and never grumble if she keeps you waiting. If she is inconsiderate, avoid whenever possible future engagements with her.
  • If you are invited to a party given in honor of a special guest, make your call, if possible, before the guest leaves.
  • When you are invited to dine, or when you receive any other special courtesy, reciprocate by some invitation of your own as soon as you can.
  • Never take your watch out during a call, and above all, do not try to get a surreptitious look at it. Leave whenever you wish to go, but do not look at your watch.
  • Always introduce men to women, young men to older or to more distinguished men, young women to older women – never the reverse.
  • Always be a gentleman.

How to have good table manners

Introduction:

‘Table manners’ and ‘children’ go hand-in-hand. That sound of the spoon clicking on the plate, chewing loudly, talk while eating, all this is very irritating. You might have given that icy stare multiple times but it seems to be all in vain. You need to be patient here… Don’t put tons of pressure when your 5-year-old squeezes ketchup in your tea!

Learning table manners takes time. However, with the help of some efforts and tips, you can teach your innocent ones about it. Table manners are important for kids to learn and the earlier it is, the better it will be.

How do I start teaching table manners to kids:

There is no set rule for teaching table manners to your kids. But, it is advisable that you start at an early age.

To start with, you can talk about the meals you have prepared and how much fun it will be to share it with everyone at the table. Also, you can add up saying, that pleasant behavior will even make it more fun for everyone.

How to have good table mannersimage source

Table manners for kids: Age-by-age guide:

Whether you have a tiny tot who loves to make a mess and eat or a preschooler who helps you keep your weight in check, giving you a good cardio workout, or you have a little elder kid – a school going who just gobbles the food for the sake of eating and runs backs to play. There are plenty of ways to deal with different aged kids when it comes to teaching table manners. Let’s read it here:

a. Table manners for toddlers:

Toddlers love to play with whatever is there, whether it’s a toy or food. They need a constant reminder of how to behave while eating. So, it’s up to the parents to set the meal times right and show them in a playful way of how one should behave while sitting at the meal table.

How to have good table mannersimage source :

You can teach them to:

• Sit at one place and eat
• Help your tiny tot to wash hands before every meal
• Teaching him to refrain from throwing food, bang spoons on the plate, screaming or spitting food

Toddlers will do things where they get attention; if dropping food is getting them the attention they will keep doing it. If politely talking is giving him full attention, well you get the idea what is working and what is not. At the very worst, you will have to repetitively do that but that’s okay.

b. Table manners for preschoolers:

“Practice makes mom perfect” should be the quote here. It’s a tough task to teach table manners to a preschooler.

Not just they are picky eaters, but they are attention seekers as well. You need to sit down with your child, apart from the meal time to explain what you are expecting at the table. Include few role play games to make the learning activity fun.

You can teach them to:
• Sit properly without wriggling, squirming or wandering around
• Patiently wait for everyone to arrive at the table
• Use the napkin and wipe the mouth after eating
• Take small bites and chew it properly

When you are taking them to a party or having a get together at your place, have them recite the table manners. Also; when they have behaved don’t forget to thank them.

c. Table manners for kids:

This age group is a bit easy to handle and also you can expect them to understand well. Parents can explain through a suitable conversation about table manners. This age group knows the difference between the “right” and “wrong”, “yes” or “no” hence table etiquettes are easy to teach.

How to have good table mannersimage source

You can teach them to:
• Use the cutlery in appropriate ways, and plate etiquettes
• Lay the table cloth / cleaning the table after the meals
• Teaching your kid to avoid saying insulting things when he/she don’t like the food
• Avoid carrying tablets or video games/gadgets to the table

Also; take their help while cleaning the kitchen after the meals. Let them understand the significance of the food, teach them how fortunate they are of getting to eat timely meals especially when they are complaining about the meal they are served.

What to do if your child misbehaves on the table?

Now that you have educated your child with proper etiquettes for eating, scolding your child for not behaving at the meal table is not going to improve them.

If your child is being unpleasant at the meal table, ask him to leave the table and don’t let him come back to finish the meal with the family. Explain that this kind of behavior is not tolerable and he can try to be good next time.

Ensure that the mealtime with the family is fun and pleasant. Talk with your kids and be encouraging about the conversation, this way he’s more likely to want to stay and share the good vibes.

4. Some basic manners that work for all age groups:

• Washing hands before every meal and coming to the table
• Placing the napkin on the lap and using it to wipe the mouth
• Not to start eating alone when at the table. Start eating when everybody has seated
• To sit upright and not to slouch
• Not to make noises while chewing food, chew with your mouth closed and not to talk until you have swallowed
• Not to make bad comments about the meals/ food
• Using ‘Please’, ‘thank you’ or words like these at the table
• Make polite conversation with everybody at the table
• Not to make noises like slurping or burping
• Ask to be excused when finished.
• Thanking a person for preparing wonderful food
• Teach them to ask whether they can help in cleaning /clearing or laying the table at your home or someone’s else.

Closing thoughts:

A child’s good manners go for a toss when your child is hungry, tired and overwhelmed during dinner. But, that shouldn’t get you off the hook from teaching your child food etiquettes.

Understand that it is okay for your little one to make mistakes. Teaching good manners to the kids might take time. But do take the time to help them learn the skills that will allow them to become more social and confident individuals in the future.

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Home » PARENTING » TEACHING TABLE MANNERS IS MORE IMPORTANT THAN YOU THINK

How to have good table manners

In a world where child-focused foods are often things that they can pick up and enjoy with their fingers or drink from a pouch, really what good are “traditional” table manners? Well, teaching table manners is more important than you think. According to the experts from an interview with Fatherly.com, good manners can also help in crucial social situations that could affect the future course of their lives.

How to have good table manners

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“There’s going to be an event you need to go to where you are going to want your children to have table manners so that they don’t embarrass the whole family and people don’t look down on you for not teaching manners to them,” explained etiquette expert Jennifer L. Scott, New York Times bestselling author of Connoisseur Kids.

Scott goes on to say that, “Teaching table manners is such important preparation for life,” Scott says. “I guarantee when they have their first job and they go out to lunch with coworkers or have a special dinner with someone they have met romantically, your kids are going to want to have good table manners.”

So just how do you teach table manners in 2021?

Well, Scott goes on to suggest to practice table manners with simulated dinners that she likes to call, “dress rehearsals.”

“Set the table nicely. Maybe a little more elevated than your normally would on a random Tuesday night,” she explained. “Then, go from the beginning of the meal to the end of the meal, asking what to do next after each step.”

How to have good table manners

Don’t get bogged down with breaking out the good china and flatware. This will only confuse children. They really shouldn’t be bogged down on which fork to use or spoon. Make it simple and easy for them to follow.

If you are wondering just how to keep things simple, here are Scott’s set of basics to begin with:

  • Sitting down nicely and staying in their seat
  • Keeping a napkin in their lap
  • Using a napkin to wipe their face
  • No burping or farting at the table
  • Wait for everyone to sit before eating
  • Use utensils when necessary for the type of food
  • Engage in conversation
  • Ask to be excused
  • Wait to leave until everyone is finished
  • Thank the Chef

How to have good table manners

“I say that we should always practice these things behind closed doors even if no ones there and no ones watching,” Scott says. “That way it naturally becomes who we are and it’s not going to come across as fake or false.”

Do you have any table manners tips to share? Sound-off and comment below. We want to hear from you!

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    • Big Kids
    • Viral Kids
    • Upcoming
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    • Parenting News
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  • VIDEOS
  • MORE
    • NEWS
    • Exclusives
    • Gossip
    • Bump Watch
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  • BCKCutie
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Home » PARENTING » TEACHING TABLE MANNERS IS MORE IMPORTANT THAN YOU THINK

How to have good table manners

In a world where child-focused foods are often things that they can pick up and enjoy with their fingers or drink from a pouch, really what good are “traditional” table manners? Well, teaching table manners is more important than you think. According to the experts from an interview with Fatherly.com, good manners can also help in crucial social situations that could affect the future course of their lives.

How to have good table manners

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“There’s going to be an event you need to go to where you are going to want your children to have table manners so that they don’t embarrass the whole family and people don’t look down on you for not teaching manners to them,” explained etiquette expert Jennifer L. Scott, New York Times bestselling author of Connoisseur Kids.

Scott goes on to say that, “Teaching table manners is such important preparation for life,” Scott says. “I guarantee when they have their first job and they go out to lunch with coworkers or have a special dinner with someone they have met romantically, your kids are going to want to have good table manners.”

So just how do you teach table manners in 2021?

Well, Scott goes on to suggest to practice table manners with simulated dinners that she likes to call, “dress rehearsals.”

“Set the table nicely. Maybe a little more elevated than your normally would on a random Tuesday night,” she explained. “Then, go from the beginning of the meal to the end of the meal, asking what to do next after each step.”

How to have good table manners

Don’t get bogged down with breaking out the good china and flatware. This will only confuse children. They really shouldn’t be bogged down on which fork to use or spoon. Make it simple and easy for them to follow.

If you are wondering just how to keep things simple, here are Scott’s set of basics to begin with:

  • Sitting down nicely and staying in their seat
  • Keeping a napkin in their lap
  • Using a napkin to wipe their face
  • No burping or farting at the table
  • Wait for everyone to sit before eating
  • Use utensils when necessary for the type of food
  • Engage in conversation
  • Ask to be excused
  • Wait to leave until everyone is finished
  • Thank the Chef

How to have good table manners

“I say that we should always practice these things behind closed doors even if no ones there and no ones watching,” Scott says. “That way it naturally becomes who we are and it’s not going to come across as fake or false.”

Do you have any table manners tips to share? Sound-off and comment below. We want to hear from you!