Active involvement is needed at an early age to get children acquainted with proper dinner table manners and etiquette. Some parents prefer to wait but the fact is that the earlier etiquette education gets started, the better.
So many people believe that dining etiquette is solely connected to being able to use a fork and a spoon properly. The fact is that dining is closely tied to social interactions, proper behavior and ability to make use of everything available on the table.
It is important to point out that children should not be left to learn by mimicking adults. They should be instructed into learning dinner table etiquette. Turning the activity into a fun game is certain to make it a success.
Using a Napkin
Most children will use their hand to wipe their mouth. The napkin is rather neglected over this much simpler option.
Set personal example and show your kid how a napkin should be used. Demonstrate the manner in which it gets unfolded and how it is placed in the lap. Naturally, a napkin is to be used in a delicate manner.
Make it habitual for children to grab the napkin as soon as they sit at the table and one is available. This is one of the essential basics of dinner table etiquette and something that should be internalized at an early age.
Greeting Guests and Passing Items
Dinner table etiquette also involves welcoming guests, whenever you are the host of an event.
When greeting guests, make sure your kids are present. Teach them what an appropriate handshake is and how they need to say hello to everyone. You should also instruct children to refrain from sitting at the table before others do.
Even when you are alone at home with your kids, you need to get them used to passing around meals and spices at the table. Ask them for the salt and say thank you when the kid passes it. Respond in the same manner when your child wants to receive something that is out of reach.
Serving the Table
Children would love to play the host of a dinner event. Give them a chance to do so. Make children serve the appetizers and to fold napkins. Together, you can set and decorate the table. You will make your kids happy by giving them a chance to be part of the preparations.
If they are to host the event, children should know what questions to ask and how to address guests. Your kids should know when to refill glasses and when to ask guests if they would like a second serving of a meal.
Teach by Practicing and Setting Personal Example
It is of extreme importance to practice table manners at home. If you rehearse the dinner table etiquette during each family meal, you will get children accustomed to proper behavior.
Remember that children love mimicking adults. To behave properly, they will need a proper example. Instead of grabbing a quick sandwich and eating it while hurrying to go out, sit at the table and use a plate, knife and fork.
Give your children the proper example and instruct them. Explain what is right and what is wrong instead of reproaching them. Tell them what to do instead of what not to. Children will have difficulties following instructions, if they focus on a negative aspect (donít eat with your mouth open, donít put your elbows on the table). A positive approach is always more productive.