What are your fondest memories from childhood? I bet it is not the beautiful red coat you received for your birthday or the shiny patent leather shoes. Most of our fond memories are centered around family rituals. Why not create fond memories for your children centered around the family meal? If you are ones of those moms who like to multi-task, then this post is for you. While creating family memories around your kitchen table, why not teach basic table manners at the same time? The kitchen table is a great time to not only learn manners, it is also a great time to learn family values and conversation skills.
Here are Five Tips for Teaching Table Manners to Children:
- Plan to involve your children: Get your children involved in every step. Let them plan the meal, shop for it and prepare it. Have them wash the vegetables. Do they know how to set the table?
- Teach them to stay seated during the entire meal. Turn off the television and computers. Everyone should be fully present during the meal.
- The Basics: Elbows off the table, place the napkin on their lap at soon as they sit, hold their fork like a pencil (if eating American Style) and chew with their mouth closed.
- Please and Thank You during meal time: These words are magical in our daily life but can be reinforced at meal time. “Please pass the salt”, or “thank you for passing the bread”. Always thank the cook after the meal.
- Keep the conversation interesting and include them. Encourage them to ask questions and engage with everyone at the table.
The benefits of family meals are far reaching. Young children have a better vocabulary than those who do not sit down to eat with their family. Older children are more likely to perform better in school. According to the National Center on Addiction at Columbia University, teens are less likely to smoke or do drugs.
Plan as many meals together as you possibly can. We know life is busy, but you must eat so why not do it together as a family? The benefits are immeasurable. I promise you will have a confident and happy child.
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