In our view, manners are important as good manners gives your child a huge social advantage – by understanding good manners they will understand what is socially acceptable behaviour, it will give them the skills to get on with others and very importantly be liked by both peers and adults.
It is sad but today children can grow up without learning any table manners because they don’t eat at the table! They may have never sat down and eaten as a family, they may only eat convenience foods with their fingers or there has never been an expectation to sit down whilst eating. By not understanding basic table manners, your child will be considerably disadvantaged as they will not have the skills to eat appropriately with others. As a family it can also limit your lifestyle and experiences with food – if your kids are poorly behaved your friends probably won’t be too forth coming to have the family over for dinner…and it will be genuinely difficult to eat out in any sort of relaxed manner.
Introducing good table manners doesn’t need to be stressful – below are some of our ideas to help –
· eating with your mouth closed
· not making loud chewing noises
· not spitting food
· not starting to eat until everyone is sitting and has their meal
· saying please and thank-you
· saying excuse me if they wish to interrupt or ask a question
· not too much food in your mouth at one time
· asking for food to be passed rather than reaching over others
· requesting to be excused from the table
This can be challenging particularly for toddlers and small children as they may not tolerate sitting down for an entire meal – but at least encourage them to eat what they wish sitting down, and allow them to leave the table when they’ve finished.
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