Table Manner # 1 – Eat with a Fork
Eat with a fork unless the food is meant to be eaten with fingers. Only babies eat with fingers.This is good to teach kids at a very young age because it helps them build dexterity in the hands and fingers. I know they will make a mess but it is better to teach when they are very young.
Table Manner # 2 – Passing food
“Bread” is not what you want to hear from your kids at the dinner table as they reach across the table. Teach your kids to ask for food rather than reach across the table. Proper etiquette for passing is to pass the food counterclockwise. All dishes should be passed. In our house we do not always follow this rule but we do make sure that our kids ask for food the proper way. The proper way to ask for food is “May I have some bread, please”.
Table Manner # 3 – Chew with Mouth Closed
I am sure you can all at least that no one likes to look over at someone and see that person chewing their food with their mouth open. Along with this one I will throw in not talking with food in mouth. Unfortunately, I see adults breaking both of these table manners. To be honest I sometimes talk with food in my mouth if I need to correct my children at the dinner table. But when I do I cover my mouth so no one can see inside.
Table Manner # 4 – Don’t Stuff your Mouth Full of Food
My wife still gets on to our kids about stuffing their mouth full of food. She always explains to them that they night choke. Well if finally happened. My son was eating a piece of Mongolian beef. The beef is sliced in long, thin strips. Part of the beef got stuck going down his throat and he got choked. This really scared him and he has not stuffed his mouth since. This was an unfortunate way for him to learn this lesson. You know most of us males have to learn the hard way.
Table Manner # 5 – Place a Napkin on your Lap After being Seated
Place the napkin on your lap after being seated. As needed, use it to gently wipe or dab your mouth. Before drinking from a glass, dab your mouth.
My kids used to have a habit of wiping their hands on their pants so we have taught them to keep a napkin on their lap. This way they wip the napkin instead of their pants. Plus this keeps any stains off their pants.
Also, if you have to be excused from the table to go to the restroom, place the napkin to the left of the plate. At the end of the meal, place your napkin neatly to the right of the plate (not refolded, but not crumpled either). This process is typically only used when dining out at a restaurant or at a formal event.
Table Manner # 6 – Don’t Speak Rude of the Food Being Served
Teach your kids to not make any rude comments about any food being served. It will hurt someone’s feelings. Remember, someone took time, energy, and expense to prepare the food, show your appreciation.
Also, teach your kids try a little bit of everything that is served even if they do not like the food. This is especially beneficial when your kids spend the night at someone else’s house. The other parents will be very impressed.
Table Manner # 7 – Say Thank You
Teach your kids to always say Thank You when served something. This shows appreciation. Explain to your kids why we should say thank you when being served. Remember, someone took time, energy, to prepare and serve the food or drink, show your appreciation.
Table Manner # 8 – How to Eat Bread
When eating bread or rolls, break off a piece of bread before buttering. Eating a whole piece of bread looks tacky.
Table Manner # 9 – Don’t Pick…
Don’t pick your teeth, that is. You should never pick anything out of your teeth while at the table, it’s gross. If it bothers you that bad, excuse yourself and go to the restroom to pick.
Table Manner # 10 –
Don’t Shovel…Eat Slow Eat slowly, don’t gobble up the food. Your kids are using a fork not a shovel. Teach them to take their time and enjoy their food. As a general rule I tech my kids to wait about 5 seconds after swallowing before getting another forkful or spoonful.