Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Table Manners

Do you ever find yourself wondering if your children have any table manners at all? Most parents do, especially during an extended family gathering or holiday meal. Some tips to set your child on the road to table etiquette:

• Check your own example. If you burp at the table in the middle of a meal, expect your children to do the same.

• Don’t turn dinner into an unpleasant lecture time about manners. Instead, explain the rules ahead of time. “You may find yourself at an important job interview during a dinner, or on a big dinner date and it’s my job to teach you how to behave so that you’ll impress whoever it is you want to impress. I would hate to see you embarrassed because you have no manners.”

• Point out good behavior in a neutral, practical way, such as; “It’s a good idea to unfold your napkin and put it on your lap so that if food falls, you won’t stain your clothes.”

• Try to have a more formal dinner once a month. Dress up, serve a special meal, use the good plates, invite a guest and expect more formal manners from your children.

• Take your children to a nice restaurant and allow them to order their own food, communicate with the wait staff, figure the tip, etc.

• Of course, let your kids know that bad manners aren’t offensive if there’s no one there to see it. If they want to eat mashed potatoes with their fingers and they’re alone – or with a friend who wants to do the same - it’s not a violation. When was the last time you ate mashed potatoes with your fingers?

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