How can you teach table manners to your child?

How can you teach table manners to your child?

Not everything is taught at school. As a parent, you will always be the first teacher of your kid and it is going to be a long way for you. All this while you had to deal with the job of feeding your kid all the time but its time for him/her to not just learn to eat themselves but most importantly how to behave at the dinner table.

Why table manners?

Now I know kids learn to eat on their own once they start going to school, but many times you will find them talk while they eat, mess their plate, spill food or make noises. This is not just annoying to some people but considered as inappropriate mannerism in today’s world.

teach table manners to your child

Your kid needs to learn the do’s and don’ts on the table to present themselves in a better manner especially in the corporate world or the social interaction be with family, friends, dining at a restaurant or a function. Table manners are just a part of the meal.

Teaching Table Manners:

Start to teach your kid when she is as small as a toddler. Although at that age you would have to keep reminding them again and again and state the rules. However, a pre-schooler and primary schoolers need more of a practice. Kids elder to them is to be made aware of the consequences if they do not follow table manners. But the most important is for you to have your kid involved in the process.

Eat with clean hands and face: The first thing your kid is expected to know is to sit at the dinner table with clean hands and face. So, ask your kid to clean up before the meal as it shows respect to the one who cooked the food and also to everyone else at the table. Plus, it is a very important hygiene habit.

Ask them to help with the serving:

Your kid may not always be aware to ask you if there is anything to help with. Ask your kid to serve the salad or arrange the plates. Doing so will make your kid remember and they will offer to help the next time you miss or they happen to be at someone else’s house.

Be an influencer:

Your kids tend to follow you. Make sure you and your partner do not miss on things. For instance, when the host (could be one of you) unfolds the napkin, the other person follows. This indicates to start with the meal. Another thing could be: wait until everyone is served. If your child realises that he is the only one eating, he may stop and look around for the sign.

teach table manners to your child

Point things out:

You cannot expect your kid to do everything right. When you are trying to teach table manners, your child would not observe everything and needs to be corrected at the moment. Correcting later could simply slip from his mind. Assume, you point your child for chewing with the mouth open or talking while they are not done with the swallowing. Point if your kid hasn’t turned the TV off before they get onto the table.

Give directions:

This works best if you find it difficult to understand when explained. Show your kid to push the chair back in after done or when they try to get things over the table, lift the item and hand it over. Direct your kid on how the napkin is placed on the chair after done and how to hold the fork.

Explain the rules:

Tell out the table rules to your kid in advance. The rules put should be in the form of normal talking. This could be: not talking in between while someone else is, taking smaller bites and not stuffing the food and most importantly, teaching your kid to say thank you to the host after they are done eating.

Do not expect perfection:

You kid is learning yet and may not learn soon things like holding the knife properly or serving himself the right quantities. Let them learn at their own pace and be there to guide them as required.

Moreover, you could use consequences like “no dessert if you do not say thank you”. Starting all of this from home is the best idea because your kid will automatically do it all when being a guest or eating outside. There may be time, she may forget to do something or do it wrong, that’s when you can politely mention or choose to let go where needed. However, good table manners are always appreciated by everyone who happens to witness you. So teach your child to show respect and earn it from himself.


1. Guide your child through and teach table manners by directing and pointing out.
2. Ask them to present themselves clean at the table.
3. Be a good influence on your kid on the table and mention certain rules prior.


Malathi A Ganesh is a B. Com Graduate, NTT, M.A (Lit), PGDEA (PG in Education Administration), PGDCA (PG Diploma in Computer Application), DTE (Diploma in Teaching English), ICEPT (International Certificate in Education Preschool Teaching) from Singapore and B. Ed. She has been in the field of education for the past 20 years and has an experience of running her own pre-school She is the Founder & Director Academics of Smartkidz Educare India Pvt Ltd with 275+ play schools Pan India. She is an Educationist and a Child Psychologists by profession who wants to fulfill her dream of giving Quality Education to children in their earlier years. She is also into conducting positive parenting workshops, which talks about effective child rearing. She has conducted numerous parenting workshops in all her pre schools, schools and MNC’s.

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