How to Teach good table manners to your Children: Showing good table manners is an important aspect of your child’s education that will help him socialize. Parents should set an example to learn to behave at meals.
A small child sitting at the table is not still, stains, plays with food, does not run out of food on the plate … This is normal for children under three, who still take meals as a game and are not Prepared to follow strict rules. But from this age (and especially since the age of four or five) it is essential that parents instill in them correct behaviors and teach good manners at mealtime .
For this, and once again as the main mirror in which children look at each other is in us, so it is essential to set a good example from the earliest ages and preach with the example we want to convey.
The correct posture to adopt in the chair , the suitable handling of the cutlery, the way of eating, avoiding staining clothes, not making noise while eating … There are many lessons that children have to acquire, but they will do it little by little. . It is not a matter of being tense and uncomfortable in each meal, but of being internalized naturally. Therefore, it is not convenient to stun them and go step by step introducing new habits.
In short, patience, insistence and firmness will be the weapons to make our children good diners. Following a few simple guidelines we will be able to educate them in a fundamental aspect that will help them to socialize not only now, but also in their adult life.
When the children sit at the table they have to take it as a pleasant moment, without hurry, in which to enjoy the meal with the family. In this context, relaxed and calm, the little ones will be able to observe their parents and realize what the good manners are, either by imitation or by the explanations that we are giving them.
There are a number of basic keys or fundamental lessons to be acquired when sitting at the table with adults:
One of the first things your children should learn is that you always have to wash your hands before eating (and before handling any food)
Here there are many lessons that range from sitting properly and not resting your elbows on the table to put on the napkin as soon as you start eating and use it to clean your mouth every time you drink, going through chewing with your mouth closed, not fiddling with food or properly use each covered with each food.
They are some basic rules, but there are many more that the child should gradually acquire, such as not starting to eat until everyone has sat down at the table, if there are snacks do not take them first until they are offered or split the food as you eat.
As in other areas of life, at the table the little one must also learn to use the “please” and to thank when he asks for or receives some food, respectively. You must also ask permission to get up from the table.
When they are old for it, our children should help set and remove the table, clean it and even serve other diners.
Guidelines for instilling good table manners
To get to teach these good manners to your child you must arm yourself with patience, but you also have some techniques and resources that can help you achieve your goals. Take note:
- Motivate the child : it is very useful to make him feel older. For example, tell him that since he is no longer a baby, the napkin is not put in the neck but in the lap, like the elders.
- Give clear instructions : it is not enough to tell the child to behave well at the table; It is something too inconcrete. You have to specify and tell step by step what you have to do.
- Recognize the achievements to reinforce the behavior: every time your little one performs some of the guidelines on the good manners you have taught him, you will recognize and reward him . Of course, with rewards that are not material such as applause, a kiss or “clashing the five.” On the contrary, we must also be patient and not scold or squeal if you do it wrong. It is clear that any learning requires your time …
- Use recreational resources : games or songs are very effective resources to learn almost without realizing it. Or, for example, an invented story that contains rules that must be followed at the table will be fun and will help the child remember them. You can also encourage him to practice with his dolls: all sitting at the table, applying the things he has learned or teaching them to his toys.
- Without distractions : watch TV , allow the child to constantly get up, to be playing with a toy … all these elements are enemies of good manners, avoid them.
Every time you go out to eat out the good table manners your child has learned, they are tested. Do not worry, it is normal: these outings tend to be special occasions in which the principles and good behavior can be left aside and some riot can occur. In fact, children often show a lack of patience to wait for food because they are hungry, do not sit still if they get bored, or they can even get a lollipop.
To get better results on these outings and for the kids to behave as well as possible when you sit down to eat in a restaurant or terrace, follow these tips :
- Instead of having a meal that lengthens, at first try to go out with the little one to have a snack, snack or have a light snack in a cafeteria. So you will get used to behaving well in these situations.
- Avoid the busiest hours so that the restaurant is not crowded and the food does not take too long to arrive, which will cause the waitings between plates to lengthen and the child can despair and lose the forms.
- Pay attention to your child when he speaks to you and let him participate in the conversations, as far as possible, even if he is asking politely for a turn.
- If there are more children, do not feel them together and part during the meal, since games and distractions multiply disobedience.
- Try not to ask, where possible, for food that tests good table manners. For example, with a soup it is normal for the child to make more noise by eating or getting more dirty.
- Follow the same rules as at home and praise their good behavior when they comply.
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