How to Teach a Child Table Manners

An important skill parents have to teach their kids is table manners. It takes patience to teach children how to behave at the table, but in the end, it pays off. A child with good table manners is worth all the time and teaching involved.

  1. Do as you expect the child to do. Teach by example. Be polite at the table, and make a point to always exemplify proper table manners.

  2. Give credit where it's due. If the child is doing a great job, tell him so. Avoid overpraising, since this can disrupt the meal and make the child self-conscious from too much attention.

  3. Be consistent. Make sure that what is and isn't allowed is the same at every meal. If elbows aren't allowed on the table at dinner, it should be the same at lunch.

  4. Teach him the basics. Before any expectations are placed on the child, inform him of the most essential table manners. Which utensil to use, what is appropriate behavior at the table, as well as anything else that is relevant can be relayed prior to having a meal.

  5. Use gentle reminders. If the child does something inappropriate, avoid making a scene. Simply and quietly address the problem with a reminder. Using a single word, such as "napkin" or "elbows" are extremely effective.

  6. Explain why table manners are important. While it may not seem like a big deal at home, inform the child that table manners are expected when visiting a friend or relative's home. Also explain that table manners are absolutely necessary in restaurants.

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