While teaching your kids table manners is an important life skill, it can be a challenge getting them excited about it. Learning table etiquette doesn’t have to be boring, though. Teaching table manners at regular family dinners will help make good manners a habit and it’ll allow them to feel more grown up (what kid doesn’t want that?). We asked Erika Preval of Charm Etiquette to share her tips for teaching kids dining etiquette.
We’re sure you are more than grateful when your kids offer to help set the table for dinner. This is the perfect opportunity to teach them how to set it properly. Here are some tips that might make it easier for your kids to get a hang of it:
- Make the “ok” sign with both hands. The alphabets “b” and “d” can help them remember to place the bread plate on the left and drinks on the right.
- If your kids are good at spelling and math, this is an easy one: there are four letters in the words fork and left, and five in knife, spoon, and right. Flatware should be placed accordingly.
- When setting the table and during the meal, the blade of your knife should always be turned toward you. Remind your kids that it should never be aggressively pointed toward your neighbor.
Once the table’s set, it’s time to chow down! Just kidding, kids (and adults) should maintain good dining etiquette especially during the meal. Modeling good behavior is a great way to show kids what to do by setting a good example. Here are some things to teach once dinner has been served:
- If you’ve had to deal with your kids arguing over taking up space on the kitchen table, you will love this tip: no elbows on the table! Hands stay in your lap unless they’re being used to eat, drink, or passing an item.
- We know how amazing dinner looks, but wait until everyone is served before you begin eating.
- Chew small bites of food with your mouth closed and lips together to prevent smacking and speed up your response to conversations. Don't talk until you swallow.
- Ask for things that you can’t reach at the table to be passed to you.
- During the meal, it’s important to take time to compliment the food and thank the person who prepared the meal.
- If you need to ask to be excused when you’ve finished eating, remember to first offer to help clear the table.
Your kids might not be too enthusiastic about the prospect of learning table manners, but it doesn’t have to be boring! We thought of some ways to make learning table manners fun for your kids (and for you, too):
- Have a fancy dinner night to practice. You and your kids can dress up and practice table etiquettes while you set up and eat dinner. It’s a great way for the family to bond, too.
- Play manners charades. Jot down some good and bad table manners on slips of paper. Divide your family into teams and have them take turns drawing out a slip and acting out the action. The opposing team needs to guess what the action is, and determine whether it’s a good or bad manner.
- Reverse roles of children and adults at dinner. The kids will be responsible for making sure that the parents are displaying good table etiquette. They must call out their parents if they see them using bad table manners, and tell them what they should be doing.
If you’re looking for a special meal to make for your fancy dinner, look no further than our meal delivery menu. With over 50 meals to choose from you are sure to find something to please everyone at your table. Our signature pre-prepped ingredients make meal prep quick so you can spend more time enjoying your homemade meal, and learning manners together!