Tag Archives: Children’s manners
How to Teach Your Child to Eat Properly by Carrie Glenn
Miss Carrie’s Charm School has scoured through the latest Etiquette books and the classics, and invested tens of thousands of dollars on certifications and training. Here, quickly and easily digestible, are of the top 21 things we’ve learned about teaching your child to eat properly.
1. The most important thing. We have learned that the fastest way to success in teaching our kids manners is based on our understanding of this simple concept: how do our own manners stack up?
Do we use good manners in front of our kids? Do we talk with them while dining? Do we ask them how their day is going?
Eating with our children is a great way to connect and build deeper, more solid relationships. It is a primal and evolutionary form of bonding and establishing trust. It follows that learning and practicing proper dining skills together ensures that you can create peaceful mealtimes.
2. Dining is not just about “how” to eat. The second most important thing is this: it is in your best interest to always make others feel comfortable while eating.
Your kids want one thing more than anything in the whole world: quality time with you! They want your attention, approval, correction and discipline. Giving them your time in a polite and civil way while eating will help them to learn faster.
3. Exceptions, exceptions… Pas de panique! As in the study of world languages, there are many exceptions and variations of Etiquette.
This is hard for little ones since they will (often loudly) point out when someone is doing it differently. Don’t worry. Gently explain that some people use manners differently the same way people wear different clothes and hair.
4. Faux pas. Everyone (well…everyone with the exception of Judith Martin Queen of Etiquette) makes mistakes…even I, Carrie Glenn, Princess of Etiquette.
Mistakes happen. Make and accept them gracefully. In show business, the saying goes, “When you make a mistake, make it big!” However, in etiquette, it’s best to minimize mishaps. Tell your children it’s okay, quickly help them and remind them to say, “Excuse me” “I’m sorry” “Thank you”. Then move forward.
5. Mind your own business! Unless you are working with a client, never offer unsolicited etiquette advice to anyone. Let me repeat. Never offer unsolicited etiquette advice to anyone.
Avoid pointing out rude behavior in others to your children in an attempt to show them a bad example. That would only serve to teach them to judge others, the exact opposite of good etiquette. Instead point out good manners in others that your child can copy. And remember, the best advice your children will follow is the advice you actually practice yourself.
Setting the table is key to learning.
6. Teach your children to set the table. Setting the table is a fun task for kids to learn and their contribution makes them feel like an important part of the family.
7. Meals are served in courses, one at a time. The American standard is the informal 3 or 4-course meal, which includes the Soup or Salad, Meal, Dessert. (4-course meal would include an Appetizer.)
8. Formal meals can be 5 or 7 courses and make excellent once-a-month or once-a-week projects! They include the Appetizer, Soup, Salad, Meal, and Dessert, (the 7-course meal includes Fish then Sorbet between the soup and salad courses). Extremely formal may also serve the meal before the salad, though not as common in America.
9. BMW: Remember this fast driving acronym if you ever get confused: Bread plate is on your left Meal is in the center, and Water /Wine on the right
10. Outside in: You will always use the outside utensils first.
American Style of using a knife and fork?
11. Holding Utensils. The knife is in the right hand and fork is in the left. Pierce food with fork and cut one bite. Lay knife across the top of the plate, blade toward center of plate for its resting position and switch fork to the right hand with the tines pointing up to eat. Once children are efficient at using utensils, fingers are not to be used to push food onto utensils.
12. Resting Position: Knife lies across the top of the plate, fork rests, tines up and in the center of the plate, handle at about 4 o’clock.
13. Finished position: to indicate you are finished, place fork and knife side by side at about 4 o’clock, fork closest to center of plate, tines up, and knife with blade pointing towards center. Resting Position: Knife lies across the top, fork in the center. Finished Position: Knife and fork in the center
14. Bread and butter. Always break off one bite at a time, butter that one piece, then eat. Use your butter knife to cut a pat of butter from the main butter dish and then put that pat on your bread plate, using it to butter your bread.
15. Salad. Unless you are eating an iceberg wedge, never cut your salad. You may use your knife to secure salad to fork. Resting and finished positions are as above.
16. Soup. ALWAYS wait for hot soup to cool enough to eat rather than blow on or stir it! I know, I know. We have spent our children’s baby years teaching them to blow.
Yikes. Now we have to unlearn this. Be patient. It will take kids time to unlearn this habit. Resting and finished positions are the same and depend on the bowl. For shallow bowls, leave spoon in the bowl and for soup cups, set spoon on the saucer. Resting and finished positions for soup: shallow bowls, in the bowl and soup cups, on the saucer underneath
Secret Lives of Napkins
17. Place your napkin on your lap. The absolute best way to keep napkins on squirmy kids’ laps is to invest in cloth napkins. They “stick” to laps much better than paper. Use the napkin to gently pat or dab your lips and the corners of your mouth. Children love learning and practicing this skill!
18. Where to put the napkin when you leave your chair. If using the restroom,lay your napkin in the seat of your chair (never over the back). This indicates that you are returning.When you rise to leave, return your napkin to the table. If your plate is still on the table, place napkin to the left of your plate. If plate has been removed, place napkin where your dinner plate had been.
19. Using paper napkins. Do not wad them up and throw into your plate.Fold them as best as you can and set them down as above.
20. Posture. Help kids with good posture by giving them a boost in their chair or use a modern high chair. Encourage them to keep feet below them rather than sitting on them.
21. Let’s Talk. “Adult conversation” is inappropriate when dining as a family. Just as there are subjects to avoid at a business function, the same rests when dining with your children. Instead, use “family meal conversation”. Stay on positive and lively topics. Encourage your children to listen, ask questions and add to the conversation. Be sure to ask your children questions.
Is this all we know? Etiquette at Hand offers great tips and advice for you.We have developed separate and specialized savoir faire on what makes for success in Communication, Career & Student Success, Business Dining, Mother/daughter Grace and Poise, Networking, Volunteer, Children’s Manners, and other areas of social intercourse. This special information is given in detail to clients of Carrie Glenn’s Etiquette at Hand.
Etiquette at Hand 831-402-7337