table manners/table settings

When is the right time to teach table manners?

Last updated on November 18th, 2022 at 06:45 pm

When is the right time to teach table manners? That’s a lot sooner than you think. It can start as early as the age of one if you’re a parent who’s just that awesome.

It is adorable to see a child at a restaurant who knows how to use table linen and utensils. Table manners do not start at a restaurant or a friend’s house. It should begin at home when the child is very young.  At what age should you start? Teaching should begin as soon as the child can sit in a high chair and eat baby foods/solid foods.

As school education is essential so are our table manners. Table manners are part of child education. Good table manners are not only defined by how you hold your napkin, utensils, and glass. It is characterized by how you sit on a chair, how you are dressed to sit around the family table, at a friend’s house, or at a casual or fancy restaurant. Many people will inadvertently exclude proper attire from teaching table manners.  Proper attire is essential in table manners at home or outside the home. Making sure that a child knows that clothing is required to eat at a table is key to learning.

How young is too young to teach your child table manners?

Before setting the family table for dinner, it is essential to ensure that the seating arrangement is correctly set when using a baby high chair. Creating sound routines is also the key to avoiding embarrassing moments and table accidents. Children at a very young age always observe any activities around them. Because all their senses are not fully developed, they adapt well to routines and will mimic gestures.  That is the time to get their attention while their brain is spongy. Placing the high chair where they feel surrounded will create a sense of comfort and security.

table manners/table settings
Table Settings – Photo credit: canva

The next step is to arrange feeding time if possible around dinnertime. Breakfast and lunch can also be included if possible. An infant in a high chair must not be excluded from the dinner table. Infancy stage is the perfect time to start teaching table manners. No matter how different his or her eating hours are, by adding a place at the table you will then start creating and forming a stronger bond and a better sense of family togetherness. A healthy snack can be offered at that time until feeding time can be synchronized with dinner. After building the foundation at home, eating outside the home should not be an issue. The next steps would include the proper handling of utensils, waiting to be served, etc.

At what age should you start teaching your kids table manners?

Table manners are gradually taught with age. Setting the dinner table correctly, with placemats, plates, glasses, utensils, napkins or table linens, etc., should help a child get acquainted with table settings. And therefore, eating at a restaurant should not be an awkward situation.  As a child gets older and becomes accustomed to seeing the same foods at home and a restaurant, they will be more comfortable with the lifestyle you are trying to teach.

Basic table manners should always be observed at a family function, casual or fancy restaurant. Ensuring the child does not put their feet on the chair is essential to proper training. There is nothing you can do for the arms at a young age; you will have to wait until they are tall enough to position their forearms correctly.  Chewing, another basic table manner, is to be taught early. Talking and chewing at the same time should not be allowed, and neither is holding food with your hands and speaking at the same time.

We tend to forget many things, and it is the minor thing that can embarrass a parent in public. Depending on your culture and upbringing, it is fair to say that society is very judgmental.  We should not let fear or discouragement hinder us from continuing what our parents taught us and shared. All we have to do is create the time to train.

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