Table manners are some of the most important rules of etiquette that kids need to learn. Behaving properly at the table and using good manners helps our children grow into respectful and considerate adults. Kids need to know that proper table manners aren’t just for fancy dinners at Grandma’s House. They are important to practice everyday whether eating at home as a family, having lunch out with friends, or even during a meal at the children’s table. Kids also need to use good etiquette at school. Nobody wants to get in trouble by the teachers in the cafeteria. The best way to learn proper table manners is to practice everyday. Children are never to young to start learning meal time rules, so get started today.
We all know that reading a list of rules to the kids and expecting them to listen isn’t going to work! Whenever I try to teach something to my children, I always find it easier to involve them in the process. Hopefully, by helping me create a list of table manners, my boys will be more likely to remember all the rules! So, we sat down at the table one afternoon and started brain storming good behavior while eating. Then, I printed our family’s table manners on a cute sheet of paper and stuck it to the fridge. The printed list helps serve as a gentle reminder for my kids every time they walk by it. Below is the list of table manners I created with my boys.
Table Manners for Kids
- Be Ready: Preparing for dinner before the food actually hits the table is the first step to proper table manners.
- Ask what time the meal will be served
- Wash your hands
- Come to the table when called the first time
- Wait for everyone to be seated before you begin eating
2. Sit Properly: The seat of the chair is meant for your bum, not your knees or your feet.
- Place the napkin in your lap
- Elbows off the table
- Don’t lean backwards in the chair
- No toys, phones, or electronic devices at the table
3. Don’t Complain about the Food: If you didn’t make it, don’t hate it.
- Compliment the chef
- Try to taste everything on your plate
- Help create the menu to ensure foods you enjoy are served
4. Say Please & Thank You: By using the magic words, you will show gratitude and respect.
- Say please when asking someone to pass the bread or salt
- Tell the chef Thank you for preparing your meal
5. Use Utensils Properly: Silverware are on the table for a reason.
- Don’t eat with your fingers
- Never put the knife in your mouth
- If there are multiple forks at your setting, then start from the outside and work in towards the plate
- Place used utensils across your plate not back on the table
6. Food Rules: Food belongs on the plate or in your stomach.
- Don’t play with or throw your food
- Never spit food out at the table, ask to be excused if necessary
- Chew with your mouth closed
- Blowing on hot food is rude, just let it rest on the plate until edible
- No picking food out of your teeth
7. Make Small Talk: Conversation at the table should be pleasant.
- Don’t discuss anything gross and no potty language
- Avoid emotional or opinionated topics while eating
- Make eye contact while talking
- No talking with food in your mouth
- Never interrupt
- Yelling is not allowed
8. No Rude Noises: The dinner table is reserved for peaceful discussions while eating.
- Never burp or fart
- Don’t slurp from a spoon or straw
- Avoid clinging your fork on your teeth
- Chew quietly
- Don’t chomp on your food
- Try not to make yum yum noises while eating
9. Ask to Be Excused: When finished ask to be excused from the table, don’t just get up and leave.
- Don’t push the plate away from you when finished eating
- Sit patiently and wait for others to complete their meal
10. Help Clear the Table: Clean up after everyone has finished eating.
- Clear your plate, glass, and any serving dishes from the table
- Wash your dishes if allowed
- Ask if you can help with anything else before leaving
If you are interested in creating a list of table manners with your own kids, then start by using my Free Printable Blank List of Table Manners. Just Click the link to print for free!
And while we are talking about table manners, Do your kids know how to properly set the table? Check out my post on how to tackle this chore with your children. I even created a cute video!
Practice! Practice! Practice!
Kids will be kids, and no one expects perfection. But practicing these table manners daily is a great way for children to learn! My boys like to make a game out of practicing our dinner rules. They keep any eye on each other and love to point out when their sibling has broken a rule! Normally, I discourage taddle-tailing, but in this circumstance I find it educational. The boys are alert and actually pay attention to what is going on at the table. They try to keep score and count how many times their brother is caught breaking a rule! At least it raises awareness to the table manners we are trying to learn. They are kids after all and learning should be fun. Lecturing doesn’t really work in my house.
Do you have any great tips on how to get your kids to practice using their table manners? I’d love to hear about them in the comments below!