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Teaching Children Good Table Manners Begins with Eating at Home: 10 Golden Dinner Table Manners Revealed


NEW SOUTH WALES, Australia February, 2013 – Australian mumpreneur, author and multi-task master Joanne Turner collated a guidebook for parents on managing family mealtimes, called ‘Mealtimes Without Mayhem’, because she believes in maintaining the vital role that family mealtimes play in raising children with an understanding of diet, food and nutrition; but also helping children grow into adults with values, social interaction skills and the basic manners that many of Generation Y unfortunately seem to be missing.

Joanne says, “Certain things in life will fade away – habits, friendships, fashion tastes – but important qualities in a person such as good manners, values, good taste, and respect for others must be taught often and taught early.”

Family mealtimes can become the glue that holds a family together. Joanne’s advice, supported by experts such as parenting specialist Michael Grose and Good Manners expert and author Anna Musson who both contributed to ‘Mealtimes Without Mayhem’  is to “wherever possible, eat dinner as a family at the table. Children should learn to set the table properly with a tablecloth or place mats, napkins, cutlery, and water for each person. This is a wonderful time for each person to talk about their day and discuss any challenges they face. In this time children and teens observe parents’ points of view and coping strategies, which will shape them for years to come.”

The ten golden rules of teaching children good manners are:

  1. Always set a good example and remind children that if they arein doubt, they should follow the host and mirror their behaviour.
  2. Good posture is important so make sure kids are sitting up straight so there is no leaning or slouching. They should also keep their elbows in and off the table at all times.
  3. Teach children to place their napkin on their lap right after being seated.
  4. Choking on food can be a serious problem so make sure you explain politely to children what can happen if they talk with food in their mouth.
  5. Seeing someone chewing their food with their mouth open is not very attractive. Children should learn to swallow before speaking and they should be taught to breathe through their nose and chew with their mouth closed to avoid choking.
  6. When children want something, they should always offer it to everyone else first. Proper etiquette for passing food is to pass it counter clockwise. All dishes should be passed around the table. Teach kids to ask for food rather than just blurting out what they want.
  7. Teach children proper table etiquette by never waving cutlery around or touching them and playing with them before the meal. At fancy dinners with extra cutlery, always start from the outside and work in.
  8. Teach kids to take their time and enjoy the taste of their food by eating dinner slowly. As a general rule tell kids to wait about five seconds after swallowing before getting another forkful or spoonful.
  9. Children should always ask “May I please leave the table?”
  10. Teach children to always say “Thank You” when served something or at the end of a meal to show their appreciation.

For more information on teaching children table manners or for a FREE copy of the how-to guidebook ‘Mealtimes Without Mayhem’ please visit


 Managing family mealtimes
 Eat dinner as a family
 Teaching children manners
 Table manners in children
 Table etiquette for kids

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