Table etiquette for children do not have to be difficult. Here are a few basic things we can teach our children to make dinnertime more enjoyable, amicable, and meaningful time spent together.
Spending time at the table with the kids can put you in survival mode.
They may all be interrupting depending on whether you have a Sweet or Spicy disposition with children. Attempting to speak over each other. Getting up to get a refill, additional condiment, or to use the restroom.
Here are some of the emotions I’ve been known to experience around the dinner table:
And that’s only on evenings when something goes wrong.
It can be difficult, especially if you have a large number of students to teach at once. As we do with our five children. In any case, manners are not only important life skills, but they are also required for a great dining experience.
Table Manners Kids Should Know
Dinner does not have to be a chore. Table manners for dinnertime begin at home and then spread to any other dinnertime circumstance in which your family may find itself.
We’ve all seen or been that family in the restaurant with the screaming children, who are throwing tantrums and embarrassing their parents.
In fact, dinnertime is one of the ideal moments to unwind from the day, reconnect with your children, and spend quality time together.
So, if you’re having trouble with table etiquette, here are a few ideas to get you started:
- Put down your devices and develop actual connections.
- Inquire and truly listen to what your children have to say.
- Make family time a priority.
- Model the manners you wish to see at the table.
- Purchase some books that you can read or refer to after some time has passed (this gives everyone something to focus on)
Before You Sit Down
When it comes to tap manners for kids, establishing some excellent “before sitting down” standards is a fantastic place to start.
When everyone is racing around and needs to do things like put away toys, wash hands, grab stuff, etc., it might be chaotic.
Before you sit down, make sure you have:
- Hands washed
- No toys at the table
- Set out drinks and condiments
Asking for stuff (properly…etc.) is an excellent communication skill to teach. Everyone enjoys being around a well-mannered and well-spoken child.
- When seated, request “please pass the ketchup OR may I please have the ketchup.”
- Don’t put your hand over anyone’s plate.
- “Excuse me OR may I please go get the ketchup?” if something is on the counter or in the fridge.
- Bathroom breaks are sometimes avoided. “May I please be excused OR excuse me,” you say.
Work on connecting with your children during dinnertime to make it less of a chore and more of a pleasant time spent together.
I advocate modelling good manners while also allowing children to practise (apply) these life skills at home.
After all, “practise makes perfect.”
Clean Up Time
Don’t forget to teach your children how to clean up after themselves. Some parents prefer to leave the dining room and kitchen in a state of disarray and then clean it up after the children have gone to bed.
This isn’t me…
I’d rather teach them some life skills (by working together to clean up) than be able to sleep when the kids are asleep.
Honestly, their future spouses will love more quality time together as well!
- Determine who is responsible for what during the post-dinner cleanup.
- Don’t rush off to play, leaving a few to clean up.
- Decide if everyone loads their own dishes into the dishwasher or if one person clears the table.
Table Manners For Kids Bottom Line
Remember that your child will not learn all of these principles right away; they will need time to become routines.
They will make mistakes, as do all people, and if they do not want to do anything you have asked them to do, remain cool and try again the next day.
The key to making this work is to stay calm and remind oneself that there is no rush to master these manners. Your child will pick up on your positive example and absorb it when they are ready!