Is it just cranky ole me, or do we have a serious lack of table manners for kids running rampant among our youth these days? I’ve noticed it in restaurants mostly. Parents are either not paying attention to how their kids are feeding themselves, or the parents in question don’t seem to know the difference between bad table manners for kids and good ones.
I did a little research on the subject of table manners for kids, and here are what some experts say are the top 10 basic table manners for kids:
1. Eat with a fork.
Always eat with a fork (or spoon) and not your hands. If you are not sure, watch others and adapt to their eating pattern. For example, a piece of fried chicken may be perfectly fine to eat with fingers at a picnic, but not during a formal dinner when you are wearing your best clothes. Do not use your own fork to serve food to yourself.
2. Sit up straight.
Food is more easily eaten and digested when you are not hunched over the plate. No one is going to steal your food.
3. Elbows off the table.
Keep elbows close to your body. Wrists and forearms are okay to rest on the table.
4. Keep your mouth shut.
Chew with your mouth closed. We don’t want to see what you are eating, or hear any smacking sounds. Also, swallow before talking.
5. Eat slowly.
Shoveling food into your mouth as fast as you can is a no-no. You really aren’t in that much of a hurry. Wait a few seconds between bites.
6. Save noises for later.
Don’t belch, burp or otherwise create or release any body-generated noises while at the table.
7. Use a napkin.
Keep the napkin on your lap and use it to wipe your mouth. It is not for wiping your face or blowing your nose (go to the bathroom for those things).
8. Be considerate.
Don’t reach across the table for something; ask the nearest person to pass it to you. Also, wait for others to be served (unless it is a buffet).
9. Keep fingers out of your mouth (and nose).
No licking fingers, picking your teeth or your nose, or pulling dental work out at the table (some old folks can learn from this one, too). If necessary, excuse yourself to go to the bathroom.
10. Say thank you.
When someone serves you something to eat (whether that someone is your Mom, a server in a restaurant, or the host/hostess when you are at someone else’s house), be sure to say thank you. It is also polite to mention a dish that you liked the best, such as “the stuffing was great.”
You might be able to work these top 10 basic table manners for kids into your family cookbook. However, it might be better to send these top 10 basic table manners for kids to them by email (too long to text or tweet). They might be more inclined to take the advice from cranky ole me instead of you.