Etiquette expert Aimee Symington gives you tips on teaching your children table manners at home.
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General Dining Etiquette for Children at Home - as part of the expert series by GeoBeats. Teaching your children table manners is so important. It will help them when their young. For example, when they go to other people’s houses for dinner, when they go out to a restaurant with Grandma. But it will also help them later in life when they start dating and interviewing for jobs. And so it is important that they practice all of the basics of table manners at home all of the time when you have a sit down meal. So here are some pointers to go over with them. Now the first is that when they sit down to the table they want to sit up straight with their feet in front of them. And there is no reason to keep jumping up and running around the house during the meal. They need to stay seated during the meal. The next thing is that when they sit down they need to take the napkin and put it in their lap and wait for everybody else to sit down to the table before they begin to eat. The next thing to look at is the silverware. Now you might not have all of this stuff out at home, but if you do they would like to know how to use them. So, the small fork is for the salad fork if it is served before the meal. This larger spoon might be for soup. Then the larger fork and knife are for the main course. These silverware at the top are for dessert. They can be place there or actually on the side. Now this is a bread plate and this would be their glass obviously. But just knowing the basic of how a table is set is important and you also might want to encourage your children to set the table when there are at home. Next is to think about all of the things like saying “please” and “thank you”. So, “Please Mom could you pass the mash potatoes, thank you.” It is to pass all of the platters and bowls of food to the right in one direction and also to remember to pass the salt and pepper together. Now children also need to be reminded to keep those elbows off the table and even their arms. If there are eating American style the hand that they are not eating with goes into their lap. Then, to hold their fork again if it is American style just like it was a pencil. So eating like this sitting up straight. Also at the end of the meal, they need to ask the host Mom or Dad “May I please be excused?” Now all of these simple things if you just keep practicing them they will become second nature. And then when your children are at someone else’s house eating they will have fabulous table manners.

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