Teaching Proper Dining Etiquette to Kids

Getting kids to eat a full meal is a big enough feat in itself, so parents might often find themselves turning a blind eye to basic table etiquette just to get to the end of the task. This often creates a challenge down the road when trying to teach your little ones about basic dining etiquette. Whether they are sitting down for a regular family dinner or out at a restaurant with friends, there are a few simple habits that you can impart on your kids to make sure that they exhibit the proper dining etiquette when sitting down for a meal.

Proper Dining Etiquette for Kids
A simple checklist will go a long way in helping kids pick up the right dining habits

Make the teaching process easier for you and your kids by making it fun! Ultimately, your biggest goal will be to create a routine that will instill them with the correct manners early. You might even structure a game around helping reinforce these dining habits among your kids. Not sure where to start? Here is a basic checklist to share with your kids to make sure their next shared meal is a pleasant one for everyone in attendance.

Dining etiquette check list for kids:

  1. Before beginning to eat, be sure to place a napkin on your lap to protect yourself from falling food particles and to create easy access to it when you need to wipe your mouth or hands. This will help keep the mess down to a minimum.
  2. While at the table, keep your elbows off of the table and be aware of the personal space of those sitting around you.
  3. Remember that silverware and other table setting items are not toys, but tools for eating. While drumming on the table might seem like a fun activity for a child, it’s certainly not the most pleasant experience for others at the table.
  4. While eating, it’s important to chew with your mouth closed and not talk while there is food in your mouth. Forgetting this can be quite the unsightly experience for your fellow diners, not to mention it can create a bit of a mess.
  5. Try not to reach across the table for something positioned further than your reach. Instead, ask for the item to be passed to you by someone in closer proximity.
  6. Try to refrain from eating until everyone is seated at the table.
  7. Bring food up to your mouth using your silverware instead of stooping down to a level that is closer to your plate.
  8. Last but not least, it is important for kids to remember that food is for eating and not for playing.

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