It’s certainly a moment worth capturing when toddlers use cutlery like playthings. However, nobody appreciates older kids pounding glassware with their army of spoons or chewing loudly with their mouths wide open. Yes, good table etiquette is important and even though it may not top our checklist of things to teach our children, it is still essential for their well-rounded development. And while toddlers can’t be expected to dine like adults, one can certainly initiate the process with grade schoolers aged between 5 and 10 years.
Learning table manners is only going to help your children blossom into more confident and independent adults. And we have prepared the starter kit that you need to introduce your kids to them.
A Clean Start
First things first – teach your children to wash their hands before every meal. But don’t just enforce the habit on them and expect them to follow it from the get-go. Instead, patiently explain to them why it’s done and let them rationalize its importance. To make things fun, why not turn it into an activity that you do with them? This way, they can gradually incorporate it in their routine.
Once your child is at the table, make sure they sit up and don’t slouch. As well as encouraging good posture, it makes your little one more attentive to their meal and reduces chances of spillage. And in case that does happen, we hope your little one has a napkin on their lap.
We live in a world saturated in technology. As a result, it has become crucial to teach kids how to take a step back and detach from their gadgets from time to time. And there’s no better time than dinner to take a break and enjoy quality time as a family. Encourage kids to talk about their day as opposed to being glued to their TV or I-pad screens.
While we’re on the subject of talking, kids must be taught not to speak when they have food in their mouth. More often than not, kids unwittingly do this and as parents, we must gently remind them that it’s impolite. Learning to chew properly is another related habit that is key to practising proper dining etiquette. Since chewing loudly or with their mouth open also negatively impacts the experience of fellow diners, kids should be made aware of the discomfort it may cause in others.
A Clean End
We are all sometimes guilty of pampering our kids to a fault. But when it comes to cleaning up after a meal, kids are better off on their own. Encourage your little one to clear their plates even if you have helpers at their disposal. After all, it’s small habits like these that help kids grow into responsible and independent adults.
Voilà! Your kid is now ready to dine like a pro!