Good table manners for all ages

Good table manners for all ages

Create a courteous eater for a better mealtime


Teaching your child mealtime manners doesn't have to be difficult. Some basic and easy tips can lead to a more enjoyable meal.

Make mealtime fun with a minimum of family rules — all positive. It takes a lot to become a courteous eater, so keep your expectations realistic and model the behavior you want to see from them. 

Kids need to know:

  • We turn TV and electronic devices off during dinner.
  • We wash our hands before eating to get rid of germs that can make us sick.
  • We stay seated and sit up straight at the table so nothing will spill and we won't get messy.
  • Food stays on the tray or plate while eating, and is not to be thrown or played with.
  • We chew our food quietly, with mouth closed.
  • We say, "Please," when we request food.
  • We say, "Thank you," as we accept food.
  • We say, "No, thank you," when we refuse food.
  • We use forks and spoons so our hands stay clean.
  • We swallow food before we talk so we understand what is said.
  • We pass food to others at the table.
  • We wipe our mouths and fingers on our napkins to keep clean. No finger licking!
  • We keep our napkins in our laps, and our elbows stay off the table.
  • Each person gets a turn to talk, and we listen without interrupting.
  • We make good comments about the food or none so we don't hurt feelings.
  • We say, "Excuse me," for mistakes or burps.
  • We ask to be excused from the table when finished – "May I please be excused?"
  • We clear our dishes from the table to help clean up.