30 Essential Table Manners Every Kid (and Adult) Should Know

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Do you ever feel like mealtime at your house resembles a free-for-all more than a civilized gathering?

Between elbows on the table, food flying everywhere, and constant interruptions, it can be hard to enjoy a peaceful family dinner. But fear not, because we’ve got you covered with 30 essential table manners rules that will help turn your mealtimes into more pleasant and civilized affairs. From saying “please” and “thank you” to knowing how to use utensils properly, these tips will help you and your kids become polite, respectful, and mindful diners. So put down that fork, and let’s dive in!

1. Wash your hands before coming to the table.

2. Use a napkin to wipe your mouth and hands.

3. Chew your food with your mouth closed.

4. Don’t talk with your mouth full.

5. Take small bites and don’t rush. Enjoy your food and savor the flavors.

6. Use utensils properly. Hold the fork in your left hand and the knife in your right hand (if you are right-handed) and cut your food into small pieces.

7. Don’t reach across the table or grab food from other people’s plates. Ask politely if you want something.

8. Say “please” and “thank you” when asking for or receiving food or drinks.

9. Wait for everyone to be served before starting to eat.

10. Don’t slurp your soup or drink. Use a spoon or straw to drink.

11. Don’t blow your nose at the table. Excuse yourself and go to the bathroom.

12. Don’t make loud noises or play with your food.

13. Keep your elbows off the table while eating. Rest them on your lap when you’re not using your utensils.

14. Offer to help clear the table and wash the dishes after the meal.

15. Don’t criticize or complain about the food. Be grateful for what you have.

16. Don’t use your phone or other electronic devices at the table.

17. Wait for others to finish their meal before getting up. Say “excuse me” if you need to leave the table.

18. Don’t talk about unpleasant or controversial topics at the table.

19. Say “thank you” to the host or cook for the meal.

20. Use your silverware from the outside in. The fork farthest from the plate is for the first course, and so on.

21. Cut only one or two bites of food at a time.

22. Don’t stack your dishes when you’re done eating.

23. Don’t eat with your fingers, except for foods that are meant to be eaten that way.

24. Pass food to the right.

25. Don’t take huge portions of food that you can’t finish. Start with small portions and ask for more if you’re still hungry.

26. Keep your table setting neat and tidy.

27. Don’t slouch or lean back in your chair.

28. Take turns talking and listen to others while they speak.

29. If you accidentally drop a utensil or spill something, apologize and ask for help to clean it up.

25. Keep your water glass on your right and your bread plate on your left.

Follow these good manners yourself

Teaching your children these good manners on the table will not only help them become polite and well-behaved individuals, but also help them develop respect for others and good social skills. Remember to lead by example and follow these good manners yourself, as children learn by example. With patience, consistency, and positivity, your children will develop excellent table manners that will serve them well throughout their lives.

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