Friday Four: Table Manners 101

Table Manners Are Served!

Table manners should be taught very early in a child’s life. Waiting until they are older can easily cause frustration. In our home, we are not too proper. We don’t set the table with napkins or 3 sets of tableware. But there are a few rules we parents insist on. DISCLAIMER: By no means am I saying they are followed at every single dinner. What I am saying is we expect and encourage them to follow these simple rules of respect.

Life goes by so fast, and conversations are so short, we, parents must find ways to protect snippets of quality time together. What better way than at the dinner table? Try my top four tips for creating a happy mealtime.tm

1. Sit down, napkin goes in your lap.

Not only is it the right thing to do, but it will prevent any food spilling on clothing or chair cushions. Nothing works my nerves more than to see pasta all in my chairs and on the floor after dinner.

2. “Excuse me, please pass the …”

Most times food is place on their plates. It’s rare that we put anything on the table. But if it happens, just ask. As the main chef, I love to see empty serving bowls.

Seating Etiquette for Restaurants

Traditionally, a man cedes the inside seat, whether a banquette or a chair, to his female companion. “The woman faces out, and the man faces in―he should want to look at the most beautiful thing in the room,” says Tracey Spillane, general manager and partner of Spago Beverly Hills. If you’re dining with someone of the same sex, the guest gets first dibs on the best seat (and view).- Jabela Ledisi

3. Complements to the chef.

Select your favorite item on your plate and complement the person who prepared it. Most times, it’s my daughters and any influence to get them cooking more is good for me.

4. Bread basics.

This may be one of my biggest pet peeves but is a very simple rule to teach your munchkins. When they are ready to dive into their dinner roll or bread slice, the polite thing to do is to cut a pat of butter and place it on their bread plate. Tear off a bite-sized piece of bread, add a little butter then eat the piece in one whole bite.

Bonus tips: These should go without prompting, but I will review them to be sure.

• Please and thank you.

• Elbows off the table.

• Electronics do NOT come to the table. Engage and converse with your relatives.

• Bring the food to your mouth, not mouth to the plate.

• Chew with your mouth closed.

Now how to influence them to behave? It’s simple, PRAISE THEM for every good thing they do during dinner. Correct with simple explanations, and don’t offer rewards for good behavior. The explanations help kids feel empowered to make good decisions next time, and rewards only serve as a way to teach kids to seek rewards. Feeling good about one’s fine table manners will eventually be enough reward and will last a lot longer than a toy or treat.

Got it? Get it! Good. Now if you want to know how to set a proper table, here go you.- CLICK here! For more table manner tips, click here.

What’s the funniest thing that has happened at your dinner table? What dinner rules do you have in your home?r

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