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10 Tips for Teaching Kids Proper Dining Etiquette

Submitted by on December 17, 2012 – 1:17 pmNo Comment

family dinner time

This new year, resolve to incorporate table manners and proper dining etiquette into your family’s weekly routine.


by Tracey Doull, founder of Kitchen Moxie

Do you resolve every year after the holidays to work with your children on their dining etiquette and table manners … or lack thereof? Does the memory of Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner in the dining room leave you feeling embarrassed and wishing you’d actually followed through this time? Table manners and proper eating etiquette are not things learned in short measure, but rather things that needs to be practiced on a regular basis. So why not incorporate a weekly Sunday Family Supper in the dining room into your repertoire?

Kitchen Moxie’s tradition is to make a special meal, put on a tablecloth and set the table as if we are expecting guests. The children love Sunday Supper in the dining room as they feel very grown up – and we make a big fuss of them! They’re given proper glasses in place of the plastic ABC ones that fill my dishwasher daily. We often use our silver as it has the perfect size forks, spoons and knives for the children and sure beats the multitude of character cutlery that takes up an entire drawer in my kitchen!

At first, our children balked at the idea of a meal not served on plastic superhero or princess plates, but they have now come to embrace the china, silver and crystal set in front of them. Throughout the meal we joke and laugh our way through Manners 101 hoping along the way something sticks – and the gentle reminders will become a thing of the past, as good manners and proper dining etiquette become the status quo.

Sunday Family Supper Dining Etiquette Rules:

  1. Put your napkin on your lap prior to beginning the meal.
  2. Don’t start eating until the last person at the table has their meal and everyone is seated.
  3. Don’t reach across to get something you need – ask the nearest person to please pass it.
  4. Please don’t talk with food in your mouth.
  5. Please chew with your mouth closed – lips together.
  6. Don’t rock the chair on its back legs (a great pet peeve of my husband)!
  7. Take the food on your fork or spoon up to your mouth. Not your mouth down to the fork or spoon. We are people not pets!
  8. In between eating, you can rest your fork and knife on the plate in and upside down V. Silverware is not to be used like light sabers and should not be waved around the table.
  9. Try to use both your fork and knife and while doing so do your best to keep your elbows close to your side.
  10. When you are done with your meal place your fork and knife on the plate to the right side with blade in and fork in the upward position.

Most importantly, cherish the time with your family together!

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