Teaching Table Manners to Your Little One

Good manners essentially have to do with thoughtfulness and kindness towards others, and everyone needs them to get along happily in society. Children are not born with social graces. Your youngster will learn all this only if you act politely and teach him patiently.

Teaching table etiquette is complicated by the fact that toddlers are still perfecting the physical skills of eating with utensils, drinking from a cup and using a napkin effectively. Another problem is that some of our social convention, such as waiting for everyone to be seated before eating goes against the impulse of a small child.

As a result, most sitting down meals throughout the preschool years have to include an element of training. The trick is to find a comfortable balance so that the lessons in manners do not spoil the fun of eating together.

You will of course want to resist the impulse to teach all the fine points at once. Start with a few simple rules like you can teach him that, we remain in our seats until we are finished and then ask permission to leave the table. By the age of three your youngster will learn to remain seated but not for much longer.

About the same time, he will become proficient with spoon and fork, and can be taught to chew his food with his mouth closed. He will slowly learn to ask for second helpings and will start to practice serving himself.

By four years of age, your preschooler should be able to take turns in mealtime conversation. Learning not to interrupt will be hard. Your best approach is to include your little one in the conversation and thank him when he manages two wait his turn to speak.

Keep in mind that when your child interrupts, he simply has a short attention span. Usually it will be up to you to keep the conversation flowing. Make sure that the adult discussions do not go over the child’s head.Purposely rude behavior at the table may occur around the age of four or five.

Do not be discouraged by such backsliding, it is merely attention getting device and will pass. Console yourself that your youngster is making progress if he knows the rules well enough to break them on purpose.

geeta krishnan