Teach Kids Table Manners – For Our Sake AND Theirs!

Chuckee (2)



Do your children have nice table manners? Always? Even in restaurants and at their grandparents' house? Or…



Do they sit on their knees, jump out of their chair and run around during the meal, gobble up their food before you even sit down, burp loudly, hold their fork like a shovel, smack their food, and eat with their elbows on the table?

These are just some of the manner offenses, and there are plenty more, but we need to teach our kids not to do these things if we want them to ever be invited to a friend's house for dinner a second time, have the respect of others (your friends, their grandparents, servers, etc.), make a good impression while out on a date, and have a good chance of getting a job during a lunch job interview!

Below are some tips to share with your children on how to politely behave during a meal at home and when in a restaurant.

Dining Etiquette for Kids at Home

1. Help out. Children can help prepare the food and/or set the table for dinner.

2. Wait for everyone. Kids should sit properly (feet in front of them) in their seat and then wait for everyone else to be seated before they begin to eat. During the meal there is no reason to leave the table unless it's to go to the bathroom, and even then they should ask, "May I please be excused?"

3. Teach basics. Encourage children to hold their fork properly (like a pencil), put their napkin and the hand they're not eating with in their lap, keep their elbows/arms off the table, and keep their mouth closed when chewing.

4. Magic words. Say "please" and "thank you" and pass the food to the right.

5. Give thanks. At the end of the meal ask to be excused and then say "Thank you for dinner."

Restaurant Etiquette for Kids

1. Remind your children ahead of time what behavior is expected of them. For example, no running around, talking loudly, and that they must use their best manners.

2. Bring something into the restaurant to entertain them if needed. This can be an activity book or something quiet for them to play with while waiting for their food. Do not however let them stay connected to an electronic device the whole time. Give them a few minutes and then turn it off and have them participate in the conversation. Encourage them to ask a question of everyone. This will teach them the life-long important skill of being a good conversationalist!

3. Remind kids about the basics. Silverware is used from the outside of the plate working in towards the plate. Remember when there is food on the table the elbows and arms stay off the table. Your napkin immediately goes in your lap, and sit with your feet in front of you. Pass food to the right.

4. Don't pick things up. If they drop something on the floor they should not ever go onto the floor to pick it up. If something like your napkin or fork drops just politely ask the waiter for a new one.

Looking for an etiquette class for your 5th – 8th grader?

Sign-ups have begun for the new and modern cotillion class in Huntersville this fall called, Impressions: The Modern Cotillion for A New Generation. Click HERE for more information and to register.

Etiquette class for your group or club?

Contact Aimee Symington to discuss a private etiquette session at your location based on your specific needs, time-frame and budget.