Family and Consumer Sciences Education: Teaching Good Table Manners

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   From high chair to school lunch room to business lunches, your children will have many opportunities to exhibit good table manners throughout their lives.

   Developing table manners is one of the earliest things parents can do in teaching and modeling good behavior to their children. And, families that eat together most days of the week tend to be healthier.

   Teaching table manners can start when the child is eating independently out of the high chair or old enough to sit at the table. Table manners taught in the early years include teaching kids to not reach across the table, eat from their own plate, put a napkin in their lap and say please and thank you.

   Parents are important role models for children and can provide continuing positive support of good table manners at family dinners.

   Family meals are the best way to model and teach good manners, especially when introducing kids to new foods. They can be taught to politely say when they don’t like something.

   In addition, never correct manners in an insulting way and explain to kids why you practice manners.

Everyone at the table should get a chance to be part of a positive conversation. Keep it carefree and fun and talk about positive things at the table.

   Kids as young as 3 to 5 years old can get involved by learning to set the dinner table. Other important rules, of course, are no elbows on the table and no tech devices, phones or texting at the table!

   Good table manners are about respect for the household and can highlight the pleasure of eating. It is something that everyone can do well.