Correct me if I'm wrong, but aren't “table manners” sort of the bane of every parent's existence. Children and table manners really just aren't two words that go together well. There are simply those children who enjoy making a mess in the dining room. There are those wee ones who spend more time running around instead of finishing their meal. In today’s modern age of computers, some kids will even gobble up their meal in order to return to their video games.
Teaching children the value of meal time and making nutritious food choices can be really difficult. Add in “table manners” and meal time can become pretty heated. However, it’s par for the parenting course to make sure that your little ones grow up with a basic understanding of society's definition of table manners. If you are one of those moms or dads who is facing this difficulty, read on and discover effective ways to instill manners in your children.
4 Effective Ways to Teach Table Manners to Children
1. Always start at your own table
Don’t let your dining tables go to waste. Sitting together as a family during mealtime is the easiest method to instill proper table manners. Even if all of you are busy, try to eat together at home at least once a week. For starters, you can teach your children how to use utensils and a napkin (as opposed to shirtsleeves and hands. Although I don't push the utensil thing until they are in grade-school). Eating with their mouths closed is also an important lesson that you need to teach them. No one wants to watch the food mastication process. The trick here is to model the proper table manners and avoid making it look like a boring classroom discussion.
2. Be a good role model
Keep in mind that kids follow your lead most of the team. So if you want them to be respectful and well-mannered during mealtime, be sure that you are a good role model. Practice what you preach and they will surely master table etiquette in no time at all. (Hint, hint. No gadgets on the table.)
3. No gadgets on the table
Even adults fall into the trap of getting glued to their smartphones or tablets while eating. Resist the urge to look at your phone during meal time. To make it lively, strike up a conversation that your kids will like. Focus on topics of interest to your children. In addition, you can also share some of the funny moments that you had during your day.
4. Provide visuals
A lot of kids are visual learners, which means that they can easily understand a set of instructions through pictures. Come up with a list of table manners and present it in a cartoon or image. This will make it easier for every family member to remember the rules.
What other tips can you share that have worked in your households?