Making kids eat properly until now have been a difficult and tricky task. Being a parent you must have experienced, that kids spend more time running around when asked to have a meal, they often eat food while watching their favorite cartoon on TV or while playing with their toys. However, as they start going to kindergarten they become more organized with their meals. I think is the right time to make some meal times rules for them though does not expect them to follow those rules immediately. Just remind them rules when they come to table and remember the key to instilling good table etiquettes in practice.
- Wash Hands Before Meal-Make it the first rule of table manners, that kids need to wash their hands before starting any meal. Gradually, it should become a habit for them to wash hands before eating no matter whether they are eating at home or eating somewhere else.
- Use of Napkin- Teach your kids how to use napkin when they are eating. Tell them to place the napkin on their lap and when they are finished with their meal wipe their face with the napkin. Tell them the importance of using napkin so that they eat carefully and do not spill their food much.
- Chew With Mouth Closed- Kids tend to follow parents, so try eating once in front of them with mouth wide open they will surely find it tacky. Then, tell them to always chew food slowly and with their mouth closed. By doing so, they will learn it in a light, fun way.
- Not to Bring Any Toys or Books- Tell your kids strictly, not to bring any story telling book or their favorite game or toy to the table. He can carry on with such activities once he is done with his/her meal.
- Say Please & Thank You- Teach them to say please and thank you in their speech. If they want salt or ketchup to be passed onto them then tell them to say please pass on ketchup and be polite and say thank you when somebody’s serves them.
- No Talking or Negative Comments-Tell them that they should not indulge into talking while eating and if something have been cooked which they don’t relish eating they should not pass comments like Yuckk or eeewww! They should rather eat other food item, which they like.
- Be Seated Until Everyone Finishes- Tell them it is part of table etiquette to remain seated until everyone finishes and they should avoid leaving the table when everyone else is having their meal.
These are basics of table etiquette and you should start by teaching them basic initially and then introduce them to other things like how to hold knife, use of fork etc later. At this age it is good enough if kids follow these basic rules. For more tips for toddlers, keep reading our blog.