There are many lessons that you’ll teach your kids as they get older, but manners is one of the most important ones you could impart onto them. Children need to know their places and their thank yous, and they need to use them in the appropriate settings. Of course, you’re not going to get the tiny children saying please and thank you on a regular schedule. Not until they get older and understand what it actually means.
But there are plenty of techniques that you can do to teach table manners to your kids. It starts with teaching the skill before you explain the reason behind teaching it in the first place, and then you role play and you make sure that they understand how it’s used in context. For example, teaching children why they must say their pleases and thank yous when they are handed their dinners and they are given things by others, and also teaching them ways to say grace, to show them that it’s OK to be polite around the table, is going to stand them in good stead. As they get older, of course, you don’t have to be crazily strict about it. After all, these are children and they are going to take time to learn. But we’ve got some ways that you can teach table manners to kids in a way that will stick.
- Start with the basics. One of the easiest ways to get children to repeat please and thank you back to you is saying it every single time you hand them something. So when your child asks for a snack, you vocalize the question yourself and tag on the pleas at the end of it. When you hand them the snack, you say thank you so that they will say thank you as they take it from you. It’s a lot of modeling for this one, and it takes lots of practice and reminders about the magic words. Be patient though, because over time it will get easier for them to remember.
- Teach them about using napkins. One of the skills that a lot of people forget to teach their children is how to use a napkin. But it’s one that should be taught because when you go to restaurants or you eat out at others homes, there could be napkins on the tables and children will know how to lay them. When their hands are dirty, it’s easy for them just to reach down and wipe their hands on their lap. But if you teach them to lay a napkin across their lap before they eat, they will automatically start wiping their hands on the napkin. Not only will this be good for you so that you don’t have to keep cleaning the stains out of their trousers, it will be good for everybody else.
- How to hold a knife and fork. Learning to use a knife and fork takes some time for children. Between the ages of 12 months and two years, children will often start to get the hang of holding utensils while they eat. What you will find though is that a right-handed child will often hold the fork in their right hand, but when it comes to using both a knife and fork, they’ll need to put the fork in their left hand so that they can cut with their right. It sounds like a backwards way of doing things, but it’s a good way to teach your children how to eat properly at the table.
- Not talking while they’re eating. A good set of manners to teach your children is how to wait until they’ve chewed and swallowed their food before they speak. We all know that it’s not particularly pleasant to listen to somebody talk with their mouthful, especially when bits of food come flying out. But that doesn’t have to be your child.It’s a lesson that teaches themselves, because when your children start to talk with their mouths full and discover that they can’t, they’ll learn soon learn not to do it. It’s also important to teach them this lesson because you don’t want them to choke on their food while they are eating. If they are talking at the same time as they’re eating, they might choke.
Couldn’t ask sponges when it comes to learning little lessons so you will be able to impart on them their manners when they are at the table, at home, at restaurants and with family friends.