In today’s modern society children and manners are two words that you very rarely see hand in hand. Declining social standards and a lack of morals in youngsters has lead to most young people never bothering with even simple manners. So as a parent, when and where do you start. We want our children to grow up to become respectable and decent people in society so inculcating manners in our children is very important. A great place to start is at the table, with table manners! But how do we go about training our little angels? Well no follow a few simple easy to follow tips for teaching your children table manners.
Start Young – The longer you let children get away with bad manners the harder it will be to train them. Soon as they are old enough to sit up, this is when training should begin. Obviously little toddlers are going to make a mess and be disruptive, but if you show them this behaviour is not acceptable, they will soon start to learn to behave when eating at the table.
Be Patient – It can take years to train our children to have good manners at the table. There will be many set backs along the way. They will misbehave and do things that are wrong, make sure you don’t lose your temper, just keep correcting your child until they get it right.
Don’t Be To Strict – There is a difference between good table manners and table etiquette. We are not talking about which fork to be using, or how to fold a napkin. It’s the simple things like eating with your mouth closed, not talking with your mouthful, not leaving the table without asking and other little simple things. Don’t make meal times a strict rigid routine as this can suck all the joy out of your child’s life. Make sure they look forward to meal times and it is not a constant battle.
Make Meal Times Fun – Similar to the last point, keep the mood light and have fun with your children. Youngsters like to play with their food, while this is not usually considered good manners sometimes it’s appropriate and can be good fun. Be flexible and make sure sitting at the table is not something children dread!
Set Rules And Boundaries – Things like not leaving the table before finishing your meal. Or not talking with food in your mouth. Simple things that the children understand and follow. If the child continually breaks the rules let them know there will be consequences and their behaviour is not acceptable. Some people find it helpful to write out a list with their children reminding them the table rules, this can be put on the wall near the table or left on the table, just to serve as a reminder. This is not something that all parents like to do but it’s really down to personal preferance.
Set The Example – The most important tip I can give you is this one. Always lead by example. Children are not stupid, they can spot a hypocrite a mile away. They will not respect you if you are saying one thing and yet doing another. Make sure you stick to the rules that you have set and they should start to follow your positive example. Make sure you keep this up, you only need to break your rules once and your children will pick up on it.
If we can teach our children good table manners, this is something that they will remember for life. It will stand them in good stead when they grow up and will also help them with their manners in more general aspects of life. If every parentfollowed these simples tips and trained their children to have good table manners, then the youth of today would be in a much better state.