Table Manners for Toddlers

Being a parent is not an easy thing to do and I am sure you have learnt the hard way like most, but now birth is over and your onto some latter stages on their development, so your wondering how to get this little rascal to eat properly and stop embarrassing you at family gatherings. Well, you’ll be glad to hear your not the only one to think these thoughts and no this doesn’t mean your a bad parent, but what it does mean is your awesome and caring enough to wan’t to give your little-one the best of education which of course starts at home.

Below I will go through some thoughts and questions that might already have come up in thought and will try to discuss the options that could be available to you and your parenting needs.





Should Every Child Learn Good Manners?

Teaching manners and etiquette is seriously important and most parents know of it’s importance, whether that’s greeting people and saying hello, saying thank you after receiving a present and especially at the dinner table at important occasions. We have for example all been to a restaurant, seen a family across from us eating like a liter of pigs and thought.. Geez … that’s a sight for sore eyes! Yes, this could possibly be you and maybe your not wanting the last kid in the trio to have the same bad habits at the dinner table as the rest, if this is you I say “hurrah to you”, you won’t regret it.

Table manners are built over time and this won’t be an over night fix, especially if it entrenched in the families habitual default manners, but like all things time heals all.

List of Common Manners

  • Difference between fork and knife
  • How to eat without slurping soup
  • No banging and scraping plates
  • No eating when the mouth is full
  • Please and thank you goes a long way at dinner
  • Washing hands
  • Helping to clear the table
  • No flicking, throwing, spitting, hitting, grabbing and all the unnecessary bad manners at the dinner table and in life generally.


Ways to Overcome Bad Dinner Table Manners

All children grow by forming habits and patterns they see in front of them, kids want to please and be like their mummy and daddy, its a well known fact, so making sure the example is set and not hypocritical is crucial for you children. The concept of a child getting told off for what they see blatantly happening in front of them is unfair and will create resentment and rebel, so don’t do it and if your projecting your own failings onto your kids, in the form strict dinner time manners, then take a leaf out of Micheal Jackson’s – man in the mirror and take a look at yourself.


Dealing with Misbehaving Kid’s at the Dinner Table

Some parents have found that ignoring the child when the inappropriate behaviors begin at the table (scream, mess making spitting etc..) is a fruitful tactic and eventually works in difusing the habit, which comes from calm persistence by the parent. This is hard and not always easy, but it will benefit your child is worth a try to say the least.

I always think silence is not necessarily best at the table and light conversation is pleasant. The more upbeat the overall experience the happier your child will be, but of course like most things this can be a slider and too far will have converse effects.

Little personal accounts I have come across are when kids spit profusely and without care, the patient mother cleans the mouth and, if persistent, the child stops eventually, mainly because they don’t like their face getting wiped.


Family Rules at the Dinner Table

Every family has their own standard and it is not for me to say who’s style of table manners for toddlers is best, but I can point out some common grounds and possible examples, some may have not even been thought of yet. Here is a small list of good manners for kids that come to mind for me:

  • No elbows on the table
  • No pajama bottoms at the table
  • Please and thank you
  • Clean your plate
  • Finish your dinner
  • Stay until everyone is finished

Each family is entitled to use their own definition of manners and this will naturally create a good home as long as the basics are met. Etiquette for kids is pretty easy to follow, but the persistence is where most parents lack and the giving in is not ideal, because the control is lost and defeat ensues.

I remember with my first I used to think of activities for manners and respect and come up with lists of common manners that most adults would want for themselves. This inspired me to to take my little one out occasionally to restaurants and we would play games of pretending the queen is at dinner with us. This encouraged consciousness and awareness in general, which helped develop his great dinner table manners today. I hope this overview has been helpful and whatever stage your at with your toddler I hope your time together both at the dinner table or out and about is a beautiful learning experience for both.

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