Home > Encouraging Good Behaviour > Encouraging Good Table Manners

Encouraging Good Table Manners

By: Beth Morrisey MLIS - Updated: 21 Mar 2013 | comments*Discuss
 
Table Manners Children Encouraging Kids

It can be hard enough to get a meal prepared, all of the kids to the table, and everyone to eat what is on their plates without having to worry about table manners as well. In fact, many days it will seem that table manners are just an extra anxiety and, after all, your kids are eating at home so it doesn’t really matter anyway.

But your kids won’t always eat at home! Soon they’ll be eating snacks and lunches at school, you’ll want to take the family out for nice treats and you’ll go on a holiday that requires eating all meals in public. Encouraging good table manners now will help alleviate tensions and even arguments later.

Talking About Table Manners

Talking to your kids about table manners is an important part of getting children excited about good manners, not to mention you can’t expect children to do something they don’t even know about yet:
  • Sit your kids down at a time when they are not hungry or tired and let them know that they are now old enough for the great honour of practising good table manners
  • Explain that babies and toddlers aren’t old enough yet to handle this task, but that you know they can be successful.
  • Explain that good table manners means using cutlery correctly, placing a serviette in the lap, speaking at an appropriate volume and without food in the mouth, complimenting the meal and keeping complaints to themselves.
  • Also remind them that good table manners mean arriving to the table when called, and not leaving the table before they are excused.

Answer any questions your kids may have, then tell them that you’ll be watching out for good table manners starting at the next meal. Remember of course that it will also be your example they they will follow, so practise what you preach!

Practising Good Table Manners

Start practising good table manners at the first meal after you’ve discussed the subject with your kids. Lay the table properly, or at least serve a meal which requires cutlery and put out serviettes or even real napkins for everyone. When it’s time to eat, check that serviettes/napkins are in laps. Lead by example and don’t spend all of your time reminding children what they should and should not be doing, but correct children who do not show good table manners at a meal.

At the end of each meal praise children for what they did correctly and let them know what they’ll need to work on the next time. Don’t single anyone out, just let them know that as a group that more needs to be done about speaking with an indoor voice or more quietly discussing the vegetables they do not like, for example.

Tracking Table Manners Progress

Set up a method of tracking table manners from the first meal. Many parents find a points system or sticker/star chart useful to show children how well they are doing. Try to focus on the positives and improvements children make with each meal rather than if they’ve taken a few steps backwards or misbehaved.

Use an ultimate reward, such as a meal out or a dinner at Granny’s to show off their new table manners, as a goal to work towards. If possible, make this tracking system applicable for the children as a group rather than each child individually. Not only will children be able to work together towards a common goal but table manners won’t become a competition with hurt feelings or petty jealousy.

Encouraging good table manners is an important part of socialising children and keeping peace at meal times. Explain to your children what is expected of them, lead by example, gently correct mistakes and track progress for the group as a whole. It may take longer than you would like, but soon enough good table manners will become the norm rather than the exception in your home.

You might also like...
Share Your Story, Join the Discussion or Seek Advice..
Why not be the first to leave a comment for discussion, ask for advice or share your story...

If you'd like to ask a question one of our experts (workload permitting) or a helpful reader hopefully can help you... We also love comments and interesting stories

Title:
(never shown)
Firstname:
(never shown)
Surname:
(never shown)
Email:
(never shown)
Nickname:
(shown)
Comment:
Validate:
Enter word:
Latest Comments
  • Rose
    Re: Smacking and Children
    I have lost so many privileges being grounded this year. I am also grounded next year for the entire year and the year after that. I have…
    12 December 2019
  • Mr. gnarly
    Re: Children and Body Rocking
    I rocked on all fours with my hands wrapped on top of my head, forward and back.. I would be under the blankets.. Sometimes for a long…
    8 December 2019
  • Mollers
    Re: Smacking and Children
    I was smacked when I was little for lying coMing home late never harmed me actually learnt from my mistakes I smack my god kids when they…
    5 December 2019
  • Maggie
    Re: Questionnaire: Does Your Child Have ADHD?
    Hi my 5 year old granddaughter is really horrible to her 2 year old brother and 1 year old sister they have had…
    3 December 2019
  • Ms. Rocker
    Re: Children and Body Rocking
    I rock to the left, I rock to the right; this is just something that I do! Sometimes, I rock back, and then I rock forward too! Now,…
    30 November 2019
  • Izzack
    Re: Questionnaire: Does Your Child Have ADHD?
    Replying to E. Your child is like mine. His first CDC appointment 0gonna be on March next year I wish it could be…
    26 November 2019
  • IronButterfly72
    Re: Conduct Disorder (CD)
    I need some advice. I have an eleven your old child that is refusing to go to school. Is defiant does not listen to me or his dad. He…
    18 November 2019
  • Jodes
    Re: Children and Hitting
    My son is nearly 5 he getting worst he just keep hitting me he only started school in September and he not learning or listening he attacking…
    17 November 2019
  • Tui
    Re: Grounding Children
    So I have grounded my daughter for getting arrested for stealing alcohol from Tesco’s and assaulting 2 officers she’s now begging me to tell…
    16 November 2019
  • Phik
    Re: Questionnaire: Does Your Child Have ADHD?
    Wondering if anyone has experienced this and need to know if it’s normal or something I should look into. When…
    9 November 2019