How to teach good table manners to kids
Parents often wonder how important it is to teach good table manners to kids. In fact most of the parents assume that kids would learn table manners by themselves as they grow up. But this assumption is completely wrong as it is not possible for the kids to learn table manners by themselves. The truth is if the kids are not taught table manners at the right age then kids make it a habit of practicing the same manners that they have been acting till date and don't consider learning or revising them at all. Hence, it is definitely important that kids learn good table manners at the right age and that too from their parents. Learning table manners is not at all that difficult for kids if they start learning them right from the age they learn to eat on their own. Slow and steady practice makes them perfect and they easily learn the table manners.
How important it is for kids to learn table manners
It is extremely important for any kid to learn table manners as they imbibe good habits in them. Appropriate eating habits are also appreciated in social functions and gatherings. When you invite guests to your house, they are definitely pleased with your kid's eating habits and table manners. But consider your kid is yet to learn table manners and behaves in a very indecent manner on the table when guests arrive. For example, chewing the food loudly and making noises, burping, slurping, licking fingers while eating, getting out of the table without excusing himself and speaking loudly while eating. Such acts can be embarrassing both for the parents as well as the guests. This may happen even in social gatherings or family functions. What is the point in making your kid feel embarrassed in front of everyone if you haven't taught him good table manners? What is the point in shouting or cursing children if they made you a topic of embarrassment in front of your friends or other family members?
It is important to learn good table manners for kids because:
- By learning good table manners kids receive warm welcome from others especially family and friends.
- People appreciate such kids and set their example in front of others.
- Don't make kids a topic of embarrassment in front of their friends as well as yours.
- Kids who learnt good eating habits will always remain thankful to their parents.
Lets discuss few ways by which parents can try to teach good table manners to kids:
Teaching at a very early age establishes good table manners in kids
Start teaching kids about good table manners right from their early age. This time is perfect as kids are not aware how to eat. Hence they pick up such good practices fast and learn them very well. Since during early age, kids are aware how they should behave and have a curiosity to learn; its ideal to teach kids about table manners right at this age. Though it may seem as if they may not be able to establish these table manners perfectly at that age, but still parents may find a lot of improvement as the kids keep growing and practising it regularly.
First and foremost parents must exhibit good table manners
The parents need to set a good example in front of kids by eating meals with proper table manners. If parents practice good table manners, the kids are definitely going to practice them as well. But if even one parent fails to exhibit good table manners, then there are chances that kids may copy their parent's behaviour and exactly do the same. Now this behaviour is found in many families, that parents try to teach their kids good table manners, but they themselves never enforce such practices. Hence even if parents try hard to teach their kids, it may just not be possible for the kids to learn good table manners. Hence the parents need to take the initiative of learning the table manners themselves and then reinforcing it to their kids.
A small prayer in the beginning of a meal may be a good start
Teach your kids to say a small prayer in the beginning of their meal. This serves as a good start for teaching table manners. In Indian families too, meals are mostly started by reciting a small prayer, which relates to the food. The prayer could be anything which is easy for the kids to learn and say. Such practices encourage kids to start their meal in a good manner and are often impressive in front of guests.
Rewarding your child may help in establishing good table manners in kids
If your kid listens to you and behaves well in front of guests than they need to be appreciated. When kids practice good table manners, it is important that they practice them regularly and not only during those special occasions. If your kids listen to you and behave in an acceptable manner, see that their good behaviour and table manners aren't left unappreciated. Parents must actually reward their kids occasionally for exhibiting good table manners in front of guests. When kids are rewarded or appreciated they get encouragement and thus they continue to practice such good behaviour very often.
Top ten table manners that parents should teach their kids
1. Teach your kid to wash hands before every meal.
2. Teach your kid to appreciate the food that is served to, other than criticizing or complaining about it.
3. Teach your kid to finish the food that is served, without wasting it.
4. While having family dinners, teach your kid to be seated until everybody completes eating.
5. Teach your kid to maintain a good posture while eating food.
6. Teach your kid to put small morsels of food in his mouth and to chew them without making loud noises.
6. Teach your kids to avoid making rude comments about food when having dinners at somebody else's house or parties.
7. Help your kid to learn how to eat with fork and spoons. This is very important to learn as many foods are to be eaten with fork and it can be really embarrassing to see a kid eating such foods like say noodles or fried vegetables with hands. Other than that eating with fork is a good habit and is always appreciated.
9. Always remind your kid to clean his mouth with a napkin placed on lap. This will help them to remove any food particles stuck in and around their lips or chin.
10. Teach your kids the usage of appropriate words like, "May I", "Please", " Excuse me", "Sorry" and "Thank you". They can be very useful while learning good table manners.