The Most Important Mealtime Manners

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Do Good Table Manners Really Matter?

Good manners do more than make children pleasant to have around; they build confidence in your kids as they face new social situations. As you begin teaching, remember to avoid nagging—be gentle and consistent instead. And don’t forget to affirm your kids whenever they get it right!

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Mealtime Manners

Remind kids to:

1. Sit up straight.

2. Be quiet: don’t drag chairs across the floor or bang silverware.

3. Keep their napkins in their laps, and don’t forget to use them.

4. Keep chair legs on the floor.

5. Pass condiments around, not across, the table.

6. Don’t start eating until everyone has been served.

7. Ask the person closest to them to “Please pass” whatever item they need and then thank them.

8. Take small portions. Help themselves to seconds after everyone has been served.

9. Take what they’re offered. If they don’t like something, politely say, “No, thank you” or take a small portion.

10. Eat slowly. Put down their spoon or fork between bites.

11. Chew with their mouths closed.

12. Talk only after they’ve swallowed their food.

13. Take small bites.

14. Swallow food before taking a drink.

15. If food is stuck in their teeth, remove it privately after the meal.

16. Keep elbows and arms off the table.

17. Ask to be excused when the meal is over.

What is another meal time manner you use in your home?

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