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Kids cause self conscious parents to skip lunch

*One in five parents abandon meal out because of children’s bad behaviour
*Ps and Qs considered most important table manner to learn
*Top London hotel launches lessons in dining etiquette for kids


Parents are being left red faced by their children’s table manners, according to research out today by The Kensington Hotel.
Nearly half (48%) of UK mums and dads admit to being embarrassed by their youngsters when dining out. One in five (19%) have left a restaurant mid-way through a meal because of their kids behaving badly,
In a poll of 2,000 parents with children aged five to ten, worrying about how their tots will behave in restaurants is the biggest cause for stress for nearly a third of parents (28%).
Over a third (35%) cite eating with their mouths closed is the hardest table manner for their children to grasp. This was closely followed by sitting still throughout the meal (34%) and keeping elbows off the table (22%).
Most difficult table manners for children to learn
 RankTable mannerPercentage1Eating with their mouth shut35%2Sitting still throughout the meal34%3Keeping elbows off the table22%4Using a spoon/fork instead of their fingers20%5Wanting the leave the table because they are bored20% 
When it comes to what parents consider the most important table manners for youngsters, saying “please” and “thank you” tops the list (40%), followed by eating with their mouth shut (36%) and sitting still (17%).
In order to help parents teach their little ones some table manners, The Kensington Hotel, one fo the finest luxury hotels in London, has teamed up with etiquette and manners expert Jean Broke-Smith to run a series of classes for youngsters and to create a guide on “Petite Etiquette” with some easy-to-learn tips.
The Kensington Hotel which is a luxury hotel in south Kensington and a member of The Doyle Collection, will be hosting one hour complimentary classes on 12th and 19th November to teach children aged between five and ten a few basic table manners.
Jean Broke-Smith said: “They say that ‘manners maketh the man’ but I’m a great believer in the same being true for children as well. If you take time to teach your children table manners while at home, you’ll find dining out a much more pleasurable experience and can hopefully avoid those stressful confrontations! Whether you are enjoying a decadent afternoon tea or a three course dinner, these tips will stand you in good stead and help your children to grow into polite adults.”
General Manager for The Kensington Hotel, Garreth Walsh said: “At The Kensington Hotel we believe dining as a family should be a relaxing experience, and an opportunity for you to enjoy quality time together. We warmly welcome families to the hotel and are ideally located for those wishing to explore London. From children’s magazines in the rooms to milk and cookies on turn down, we aim to create a home away from home for every one of our little guests as a relaxing breakaway for their parents.”
But it is not only parents that can help improve their dining-out experiences, the research also reveals that restaurants can also make life easier for families.
Two in five (43%) would like smaller versions of adult main courses provided rather than a separate menu for children, while a third would like to see healthier meal options (35%) and child friendly cups as opposed to tall, glass one (31%) available.
Garreth Walsh continued: “We know that dining out with kids can put pressure on parents and even cause them to chose not to go out. Whilst we already have many things of offer for families staying with us, we are always looking for new ways to make family dining enjoyable for all.”
Jean’s tops tips for teaching tots table manners:
1. Posture and appearance

  • When sitting at the table, press the small of the back into the base of the chair and keep elbows off the table
  • Encourage children to eat with their mouth closed and not to speak whilst eating. Try to come up with a simple gesture, such as closing your fingers in front of your lips, to remind them

2. At meal times

  • It is bad manners to wave or point utensils. Use the left hand to hold a fork or spoon and the right to hold a knife. Ask the restaurant if they supply child size knives and forks to make it easier
  • Ask your children what they would prefer to eat to save them making a fuss if given something they don’t like. Make sure they eat everything on their plate so they learn to eat the right amount of food and not be wasteful

3. Dining dos and don’ts

  • Shouting and squabbling amongst siblings is definitely not for the dining table! Meal times are for quiet conversation so choose another time of the day when it’s ok for them to be noisy as a compromise
  • Remove all electronic games and mobile phones as these are very distracting and rude to others at the table
  • Instil in youngsters the need to be respectful at all times to restaurant staff. Please and thank you are most important words!

Places are limited so please contact the hotel to reserve a place. The classes will then be hosted on a more regular basis during school half terms and holidays subject to demand. Please note - children must be supervised by a parent or guardian at all time.
For more information about the classes please call 020 7589 6300 and for details about family stays at The Kensington Hotel, visit
For more information and photography contact Alice Johnstone or Imogen Schafer at / 020 7492 0977


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