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Family Matters: Table Manners


The holidays are stressful! All that last-minute cleaning, cooking, and preparing for guests, so take care of something now that doesn’t need to wait till the last minute – improving your children’s table manners. 

Holiday dinners can be stressful for kids too – all those adults at the table, all that fancy food. And, you can’t expect your children to have perfect manners overnight. You must work with your kids now to teach them good manners. As parents, you must lead by example. If your elbows are on the table and you’re talking with your mouth full, don’t expect your children not to do the same. 

Don’t make dinner a time of lectures and scolding. Praise your children for doing the right things instead of scolding them for doing the wrong. The key is to praise and reinforce. Here are a few table manners you and your family can work on now so they are ready for the holidays: 

  • Before and after meals, make sure to wash your hands.
  • No pet, toys or electronics should be brought to the table. This includes cell phones.
  • Remove any hats before coming to the dinner table.
  • Place your napkin in your lap.
  • Wait until everyone is seated at the table before eating.
  • Ask politely if you need anything passed at the table. Don’t forget to say please and thank you.
  • Remember eating is not a race. Take your time and chew your food.
  • Don’t stuff your mouth. Only eat what you can.
  • When eating your food, keep your mouth closed.
  • If someone asks a question while you have food in your mouth, wait until you have swallowed before answering.
  • Avoid eating with your hands, unless appropriate.
  • Bring your food to your mouth rather than leaning too far into your plate..
  • Leave a little liquid in your glass to prevent slurping.
  • Ask to be excused before leaving the table.

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