All too often, families are rushed around dinner time. A quick bite to eat here. A gobble down of food there. Speeding away from the kitchen table as fast as your feet can carry you. However, everyone should take a moment and look at how your family settles around the dinner table. Can you not make time for a little conversation to see how the day went?
“Civilized, respectful conversation doesn’t just happen; it has to be taught, practiced, and insisted upon,” says Thomas Lickona, author of How to Raise Kind Kids: And Get Respect, Gratitude, and a Happier Family in the Bargain (Penguin Books; 2018). “Three conversation manners to be sure to include: (1) don’t interrupt; (2) look at and listen to the person who is speaking; and (3) no put-downs.” Lickona also suggests to silently signal when you want something passed to you so to not interrupt someone speaking.
With Thanksgiving around the bend, you may need to brush up your kid’s table manners or get them started before you sit down for the big meal. Start teaching manners at age 2, Emily Post says, and remember to make it fun for the best results. Here are Post’s top table manners for kids from Emily Post’s Table Manners for Kids.
1. Come to the table with clean hands
2. Put your napkin in your lap first.
3. Start eating when everyone else does — or when given the OK to start.
4. Stay seated and sit up straight
5. Keep elbows (and other body parts!) off the table while eating.
6. Chew with your mouth closed and don’t talk until you’ve swallowed.
7. Don’t make bad comments about the food.
8. Say, “Please pass the —” instead of reaching.
9. Chat with everyone at the table, but don’t interrupt.
10. Don’t make rude noises like burping and slurping.
11. Ask to be excused when finished.
12. Thank your host or whoever prepared the meal.
13. Clear your plate from the table and offer to help with the rest.