Teaching Kids Table Manners
How many pictures do you have of your baby making a mess with his/her food? I’m betting it’s a lot. Especially with 1st birthday smash cakes and portraits being so popular, it’s clear to see that parents often think it’s “cute” when babies make a mess of their food.
But then they get older, and it’s not “cute” anymore.
Next thing you know, you’re at the local Red Robin and your child is using a “finger-fork” maneuver to shovel food into his mouth. You’re looking around to see if anyone notices and inside you’re dying. They recently became manageable at restaurants and now you have a whole new battle…
Teaching Kids Table Manners
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If you’re a parent then you already know that some children aren’t the neatest or cleanest- especially when it comes to eating. It takes a little learning and it might get messy, but teaching kids table manners is possible!! It’s also something that, (I’m pretty sure) is included in our job descriptions, so… let’s get to it.
Holding a Fork
The first and foremost thing you need to teach your child is the PROPER way to hold a fork. This skill will help them to get more food into mouths and less on their laps. It’s always best to teach them at a time when they’re not hungry or you’re not in a rush because it does take time and a little patience.
Holding a Knife
If children are ever going to be self-sufficient, they need to learn to cut their own food. To train them, you can start with plastic knives or get a set of children’s knives if you are worried about them cutting themselves.
This can sometimes be a little difficult because they just learned how to hold a fork properly and we’re teaching them a different way to hold a fork when cutting. Again, patience and practice are key and it helps to start off with utensil sets that are size appropriate and safe. Start off with something that is easy to cut and small. A room temperature string cheese works well because it poses a little challenge, and is small enough to cut through once.
Table Manner Basics
Your kids won’t know what to do unless you show them and practice it regularly. So if you slack a little when you are eating at home, you’ll need to stop doing that so that it becomes second hand to them. If you need a refresher, keep these things in mind:
- Wash your hands
- Sit up straight
- Elbows off the table
- Place your napkin in your lap
- Wait for everyone at the table to be served before you start eating.
While You Eat
- Take small bites and chew thoroughly
- Chew with your mouth closed
- Use your napkin
- Do not talk with food in your mouth
- Use your fork, not your hands
- Use your knife to push food onto your fork, not your fingers.
After You Eat
- Wipe your hands and mouth with your napkin. (No finger licking!)
- Politely ask to be excused when you are done.
- Put your cup, plate, and silverware in the sink.
- Wash your hands and mouth.
This is a lot for a little one to remember, but don’t worry! I’ve put together FREE PRINTABLES for you to print out. There are a few things you can do with this printable. You can:
-Laminate it and use it as a placemat
-Place it under one of these clear placemats
-Put it into an acrylic standing sign holder and place it on the table during meal time.
It has descriptions AND pictures for little ones who cannot yet read to follow along. There’s also a fun game on the back. You can get your FREE PRINTABLES HERE.Check out these tips for teaching #kids table manners and get your free printable!! Click To Tweet
If keeping your appetite and sparing yourself the embarrassment while dining out is the goal, then I hope these suggestions have helped you. It will take some time, but as with everything else, teaching your kids table manners is possible if you’re just persistent and patient.
What have you done to teach your kids table manners? Do you have anything to add to the list?