How To Help Kids Develop Good Table Manners
As if mealtimes weren’t complicated enough, as well as getting kids to actually eat something that isn’t burgers and fries, adding table manners into the mix can seem like a whole other ball game that isn’t worth playing, especially with young kids.
Therein lies the problem though, if good table manners aren’t something that is focused on when the child is learning and developing, they are not something that an older child or teen may seem as important.
The Importance of Table Manners
“Do not let your children do anything to make you dislike them”, that statement of parenting advice from Canadian Psychologist Dr. Jordan Peterson may come as a bit of a shock, but the literature is in that children who have not developed the art of social skills by the age of four will be at a huge disadvantage as they get older.
What better way to help them develop the social skills needed than to ensure that more children and more adults enjoy having them around and unknowingly helping them socialize better than instilling great table manners? There is nothing more off-putting about children (and adults) than bad table manners.
Everyone At The Table
Having everyone sitting around the table together does a number of things. It allows the parents to monitor table manners but also allows the children to learn from their parents and model the behavior they see.
Even small toddlers and older babies who are weaning can enjoy being at the table and being sociable with the family.
Be warned that weaning babies have a habit of making a mess with their food, and a decent set of coverall weaning bibs are a great idea to keep the mess contained. Bibado does some fantastic bibs in a range of fun colors for just this issue!
There are many families who believe it’s fine to have the TV on while they’re eating dinner, but this has been shown to actually have a number of negative side effects that can impact the health of a child well into their adult years.
The same here must go for phones and other devices. Switch them off, or at the very least on silent and in pockets. A mobile device left face up in the middle of the table just says you’re less interested in the conversation around the table than you are your cell phone.
Please, Thank You, and Polite Conversation
There is a myriad of traditions and mannerisms that should be employed when going to a formal dinner, and some of them (such as the direction of conversation during each course) can seem a bit draconian for an informal setting, but it’s important to still put an emphasis on polite dinnertime-appropriate conversation.
Polite conversation on dinner-appropriate subjects is a must, as is using words such as please and thank you when asking to pass the salt and pepper.
Good manners will take a person far, and good table manners are one of the most important skills a child can learn.