How to teach your child table manners for under 5s

September 28, 2022

No one likes a terror at the table. Whether it’s food throwing, slurping, picking noses, elbows on the table, feet on the table or maybe even face on the table, your child’s bad table manners can be embarrassing to say the least. So, it is important that children are taught at an early age how to behave at the table. This benefits everyone: they learn social etiquette which will last them a lifetime, and your frustration will be replaced by pride. Don’t expect overnight results – this might take a while. But put the hard yards in now and before long your child will be a master of manners at the table.

What we can expect from our children varies depending on age. Perhaps a four-year-old shouldn’t be allowed near the deep fat fryer or asked to carry multiple plates. Nor will be they the ones bringing their laptop to the table (or so we hope!). So, without further ado, here are some top tips to teach your super small ones good table manners before the age of 5. Keep your eyes peeled for part two aimed at your older ones. 

  1. Wash your hands together

Table manners begin before we come to the table. The earlier you can get your child washing their hands before eating, the better. It is a mark of respect for whoever has cooked, and, of course, an important hygiene habit. Make it easier for them by accompanying them and showing them the best way to wash up. Little ones learn best by imitation. 

  1. Make sure they wait until everyone is served

Dinner is meant to be enjoyed together! It is important to teach your child not to start eating until everyone is seated and served. Patience is the name of the game.

  1. Remind them to chew with their mouth closed

Perhaps the most cardinal rule when it comes to table manners. The faster your child learns that they should keep the content of their dinner to themselves, the better. For everyone.

  1. Encourage politeness 

Don’t let them off the hook if they forget their pleases and thank yous. Equally as important is that they refrain from criticising the food they’re eating. You shouldn’t criticise your child for not liking something, but they should be warned against trying to persuade others of their opinion. Add some positive reinforcement by encouraging gratitude and rewarding it. That said, make sure you’re not guilt-tripping your kid into eating something they don’t want. That can only cause more harm than good.

  1. Teach them to use utensils

This one might require some patience, so temper your expectations and keep it simple. Perhaps you could start by teaching them to place a napkin on their lap and to use it when wiping their hands or mouth. From here you could give cutlery a go. Plenty of companies make child’s knives, forks and spoons, for both safety and ease of use. Give those a go and watch them gradually master this crucial skill. Make sure you set the right example – don’t be caught dipping your finger into that tub of peanut butter!

How to teach your child table manners for under 5s

September 28, 2022

No one likes a terror at the table. Whether it’s food throwing, slurping, picking noses, elbows on the table, feet on the table or maybe even face on the table, your child’s bad table manners can be embarrassing to say the least. So, it is important that children are taught at an early age how to behave at the table. This benefits everyone: they learn social etiquette which will last them a lifetime, and your frustration will be replaced by pride. Don’t expect overnight results – this might take a while. But put the hard yards in now and before long your child will be a master of manners at the table.

What we can expect from our children varies depending on age. Perhaps a four-year-old shouldn’t be allowed near the deep fat fryer or asked to carry multiple plates. Nor will be they the ones bringing their laptop to the table (or so we hope!). So, without further ado, here are some top tips to teach your super small ones good table manners before the age of 5. Keep your eyes peeled for part two aimed at your older ones. 

  1. Wash your hands together

Table manners begin before we come to the table. The earlier you can get your child washing their hands before eating, the better. It is a mark of respect for whoever has cooked, and, of course, an important hygiene habit. Make it easier for them by accompanying them and showing them the best way to wash up. Little ones learn best by imitation. 

  1. Make sure they wait until everyone is served

Dinner is meant to be enjoyed together! It is important to teach your child not to start eating until everyone is seated and served. Patience is the name of the game.

  1. Remind them to chew with their mouth closed

Perhaps the most cardinal rule when it comes to table manners. The faster your child learns that they should keep the content of their dinner to themselves, the better. For everyone.

  1. Encourage politeness 

Don’t let them off the hook if they forget their pleases and thank yous. Equally as important is that they refrain from criticising the food they’re eating. You shouldn’t criticise your child for not liking something, but they should be warned against trying to persuade others of their opinion. Add some positive reinforcement by encouraging gratitude and rewarding it. That said, make sure you’re not guilt-tripping your kid into eating something they don’t want. That can only cause more harm than good.

  1. Teach them to use utensils

This one might require some patience, so temper your expectations and keep it simple. Perhaps you could start by teaching them to place a napkin on their lap and to use it when wiping their hands or mouth. From here you could give cutlery a go. Plenty of companies make child’s knives, forks and spoons, for both safety and ease of use. Give those a go and watch them gradually master this crucial skill. Make sure you set the right example – don’t be caught dipping your finger into that tub of peanut butter!

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