Family Matters: Holiday Table Manners

Teaching your children to be respectful and considerate during mealtimes, whether it’s at home, restaurants or at friends’ houses will be important this holiday season. Most children should have a basic comprehension of table etiquette and all it takes is a little repetition and practice. Let’s go through the basics that can be applied at every meal, anytime, anywhere.
Clean Hands and Bye Bye Elbows – Get your children in the habit of washing up before dinner and coming to the table with clean hands. Additionally, remind your kiddos to keep those pesky little elbows (and any other body parts), off the table.
Please and Thank You – Teach your kiddos the importance of using please and thank you when at the table. These simple manners can be used when asking to pass food or to show appreciation for the meal.
Wait – Children should be taught to wait until everyone is seated at the table and food served before they start eating. Patience is a virtue.
Utensils – Children should get into the habit of using the appropriate utensils for their food and avoid using their hands. Unless, of course it’s pizza or other finger friendly foods.
Chewing – Children should always chew with their mouths closed and never speak with food in their mouths. Give friendly reminders to your kids to hold on to their thought until their food has been swallowed.
Yucky Foods – If you have picky eaters, no doubt you’ve heard the phrase “yuck!” Teach your kiddos to use “no thank you” and why it’s not appropriate to make negative comments about the food in front of them.
Avoid Playing with Food – As fun as it may be, slurping soup and shoveling large amounts of food into the mouth is unacceptable. Remind your kids that small bites are always better than big ones and noises like burping are a no-no.
No Electronics – Children should know there is a time and a place for electronics and the table is not one of them.
Excuse Yourself – Children should always ask to be excused from the table once they have finished eating or need to use the restroom.
Clearing Your Plate – As part of their mealtime routine, kids should clear their own plates. Children should have the responsibility of taking their plates to the kitchen sink and offer to help clear the rest of dishes.
 This holiday season enjoy the parenting journey, time with family and friends – Season’s Greetings!