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Table Manners to Teach Your Kids - 18 of the Best

Table manners are important for a number of reasons.

They teach kids table etiquette, they help them understand basic table settings and they may even help children behave better in public.

Teaching table manners to your child is a great way to show that you care about them and want the best for their life.

In this article, we will discuss 18 of the best table manners to teach your children so that you can feel confident inviting others round and also going out for a meal.

Why Should Children Learn Table Manners?

The thing is, children aren't born with table manners.

They develop table etiquette by watching their parents and other people around them at the table, so it's important to teach your kids good table manners from an early age!

At an early age, every time is playtime, and most children don't really see a difference between table manners and other social interactions. young child eating a meal and learning table manners

As they grow older, however, kids will naturally want to make a good impression with their table manners, so teaching these skills at an early age is important!

The best time to do this is at home around the dinner table. This way, you can teach them at your own pace and you can reinforce table manners without any distraction.

Once they've mastered the art of table manners at home, it will make it much easier to for them when you go out for a meal!

Benefits of Teaching Table Manners to Children

There are many benefits to teaching your children table manners, especially if they're going into a situation where table etiquette is important.

Here are the benefits:

- table manners teach children basic table settings

- table etiquette is helpful in public restaurants and diners

- table politeness will help kids behave better at the table and out in public

- Some people believe that the little things like table etiquette will help their kids get ahead in life because these skills show

At What Age Can You Teach Table Manners To Children?

As soon as they can sit at a table, it's time to teach them table manners!

As we've mentioned before, table etiquette is learned by watching others and understanding the table settings.

If your child is able to watch you at the table with their fingers on place cards or napkins then they're ready to learn how to use these items properly!

Anywhere between 18 months and two years is a good time to start, but the table-time table manners skills they learn will be up to you.

If you're teaching one child table etiquette and another who's older has already mastered these skills then it may not be as effective for your younger children.

You'll need to find ways of making table manners fun for them so that they can master table etiquette and table settings at their own pace.

15 Table Manners Children Need To Learn And Follow

In this article, we will discuss table manners so that you can feel confident teaching these skills to your children.

Here are 15 tips for teaching kids good table manners at a young age:

1. Gamify Everything

We've found the most effective way to teach a child anything is through play. This is most commonly known as gamification.

It will make table manners fun for them and encourage good table etiquette by making it into a game rather than just an everyday task that can be boring to kids!

2. Give Them A Challenge

Teach your child table manners in stages so they don't feel overwhelmed with all the tasks they need to remember at one time.

Start with table manners that are easy to remember and work their way up!

3. Put Them In Charge Of Their Own Table Setting

Kids love being in charge of things, especially when it's something as important as table etiquette.

If you let them take the lead with table settings, they will be more inclined to learn this skill because they'll have a vested interest in table manners.

4. Introduce New Skills One At A Time

When teaching your child table etiquette, introduce new skills one at a time.

This will facilitate the understanding of each skill and make it easier for them to remember everything they need to do without being overwhelmed!

5. Put Them In Situations With Cute Manners To Encourage Good Behavior

If your child is in the habit of misbehaving at the table, sit next to someone with good table manners.

This will encourage their table politeness and make it more enjoyable for everyone!

6. Simplifying Table Manners With A Visual Chart

It can be hard to remember all of these skills so we recommend making a table manners chart with pictures and descriptions of table etiquette.

The last thing you want is for your child to go without table manners because they forgot how to place their napkin at the table!

7. Wash your hands before meals

There's a whole host of different situations and places children place their hands (I'm sure you can imagine?).

That's why it's so important to teach them to wash their hands before meals.

It's not just table manners, it's a sign of good hygiene!

If you're at home, teach your kids the importance of washing their hands with an interactive hand-washing game.

Let them pretend to wash their hands using soapy water and encourage them to sing "Happy Birthday" or another song while they do it.

8. Keep the napkin on your lap

We don't really see this as much in the home anymore. However, it's still a good idea to teach them table manners.

The table napkin is a table setting that can be used for many different purposes and it's really helpful to know how to use them properly!

Teach your child the importance of keeping their table napkins on their lap by using an interactive game like this one:

Start by placing two table cloths, or table napkins, over the table. Place a fork and spoon on two of them, each with their handles pointing towards you.

Place one utensil in front of your child so that they're sitting opposite it. Now ask them: "What is this?" Your answer: "This is a table setting." You can then use these table settings to introduce table manners.

If the child's not sure what they can do with a table setting, you could say: "This is your table napkin." 

You'll then need to demonstrate how it should be used as an example for them and encourage their creativity by asking questions like this: "What would you use this (table setting) for?"

9. Wait for everyone

Teaching them to wait for everyone to be seated before they can begin eating is a table manners rule you need to teach your children.

One way of doing this is by playing the "Simon Says" game.

Lay out three placemats on the table then place one in front of each child so that there's space between them and have them sit down at the table.

Next, take a chair from the kitchen and place it at one end of their table so that you're sitting opposite them on the other side.

Now use Simon Says to teach table manners by saying "Simon says" before each action: "Simon says put your napkin in your lap," or "Simon says sit up straight," or "Simon says wait for everyone to sit down before you start eating."

You can also use table etiquette by asking the children: "What would Simon say?" If they get it right, give them a point.

The child with the most points at the end of "Simon Says" is the winner! This will encourage your child to behave and learn table manners.

Another game you can play is one where the children take turns going around the table asking each other a table etiquette question like, "What would you use your fork for?" or "How do we say please with our mouths closed?"

The person who makes a mistake has to give up their place at the table to the person on their right and will have to sit at a table that's been set up in another room.

If you're playing this game with more than one table, they get sent back down from table number two as well if they make a mistake.

10. Do not pick food

Most children love to touch things and they're naturally curious. One table manners rule to teach them is not to pick up food with their hands.

They also tend to pick up food from other plates when they see others do it.

One way of teaching them not to pick up food is by passing around a bowl of fruit with the rule that nobody can touch any of it with their hands until you say "pick".

Then, ask questions like: "What would Simon say?" and if they get it right, give them a point.

11. Do not play with food

At an early age, children can get distracted quite easily. One table manners rule to teach them is not to play with food.

This can be a hard one, but you could make it easier for your child by placing the table away from the doorway and also out of sight of the TV. In fact, it's better if the TV is actually switched off at table time.

Also, try to engage them in conversation while they're eating and encourage table talk so that they don't have a lot of free time on their hands to play with food.

Another way is by using table etiquette for asking questions like: "What would you use your knife for?" or "What do we say with our mouths closed?"

If you do this on a daily basis, table manners will eventually become second nature for your child.

12. Do not talk with food in the mouth

This is one of the harder ones to teach table manners to your child.

It's hard for them because they don't always have the mentally ability to stop themselves from speaking while eating, so it's important that you teach table etiquette by asking questions like: "What would you say with our mouth closed?" or "What do we use a fork for?"

It's not entirely a bad thing, especially if your child has a lot to say. However, it's still important that they are aware that they're doing it and that table manners are important.

13. Chew silently

This doesn't mean that they are not allowed to talk at the dinner table. It just means that they should be made aware not to slurp drinks or chomp on food loudly.

This table etiquette rule should be enforced by the parents and teachers alike to teach table manners at home, as well as in public places.

Depending on their peers, they may have fallen into the bad habit of burping.

This may be quite funny at first, but they need to be made aware that it's not an acceptable form of behaviour in any situation (even if they think it's funny).

14. Converse with everyone at the table

This particular skill is perhaps something they can practice once they have mastered the other skills on this list.

It's important to converse with everyone around the dinner table, but not as important as table manners.

Once they have mastered those skills, encourage them to speak with everyone around the dinner table.

This table etiquette rule is about giving everyone a chance to be heard. Not only is this good table etiquette, but it also helps with your child's overall social skills.

15 Ask for the food to be passed

Children can be quite impatient at times and oftentimes lean over the table to pick up a bowl/plate etc.

However, it's important for them to learn to ask to be handed things rather than leaning over.

The best way of teaching table etiquette is in this instance, children should say "please pass me" instead of grabbing their bowl and plate from the middle.

This teaches them restraint while also giving others a chance to get what they need.

If your child does this at home, as well as in public situations (like a restaurant table), then table manners will become second nature for them over time.

16. Keep the elbows and other body parts off the table

This is a universal rule of table etiquette that should be enforced in all circumstances.

Some children, even if they're not taught table manners at home, can't help but lean on the table with their elbows and other body parts.

This is a very important table manners rule to teach your child because we often forget about our own personal space when we are hungry or bored.

17. Ask to be excused when done

Sometimes you will like to sit around the table and continue talking after the meal. This happens quite a lot. Especially if you have visitors.

However, table manners dictate that when children are finished eating they should ask to be excused from the table.

18. Clearing The Table

It's important that children learn to clear the table after they have finished a meal.

This table manners rule should be enforced at home, but they'll also need to do this in a public place like a restaurant or their school cafeteria.

If you have been invited to someone's house for a meal. When the meal is finished and your child starts to help to clear the table.

You can feel proud that you have raised children with manners and your friends and family will also see this too.

Wrapping Up

Table manners have always been the topic of debate.

Is it necessary to teach them?

Do they even matter anymore when everyone is glued to their phones and no one ever talks in person anymore?

In this day and age where social media dominates our lives, many people argue that etiquette skills really don't matter because we're never face-to-face with anyone anyway.

This article has shown you the importance of table manners and how to teach them.

We hope that these tips will help your family have a more enjoyable time at dinner!

Thank you for reading our article on table etiquette; we look forward to hearing from all of you soon!

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