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Teach Your Child Proper Eating Habits

Sit up straight, elbows off the table, don’t chew with your mouth open, and don’t talk with your mouth full. You remember the old master rules of the table? It seems as though the majority of those rules on etiquette have flown out the window and replaced with busy families not always eating together at the dinner table or making sure those proper eating habits are implemented on a regular basis.

Proper eating habits can begin at a very young age for your child and if introduced early on, will stay with your child for the remainder of their lives. Even if they are not introduced early on you can still teach your children how to eat properly by following some basic steps per age group.

Preschool
Preschoolers love tea parties and what better way to teach table manners than while having a tea party. “To make this tea party real, let’s talk about how those who have tea parties act at the table. EGo over with your child the basic rules for proper etiquette at the table.

  • Sit up straight at the table
  • No elbows on the table
  • Sip, don’t gulp
  • Don’t stuff your mouth too full
  • Don’t chew with your mouth open
  • Don’t talk with your mouth full

If you have a preschool boy, instead of a tea party have a cooking party. Use the same type of technique as the tea party and go over the same rules when having a real cooking party.

As well as your party fun, while eating dinner with the family these rules can be discussed and talked about. Ask them how they feel about the rules, which ones they feel are gross or which one they think is proper.

Main points to address:

  • Have a tea party or a cooking party
  • Talk about proper eating habits during family dinner

Grades K-6th
There is something great about a real dinner party. Ask a few family members to come over and participate in a real dinner party, having your child as the host. This is a great way to implement proper habits when around others as well as proper hosting techniques. At this point, you can have your child help you set the table properly and understand the differences in silverware. You can also go over the favorable rules, as listed above, as well as where the napkin should go (unfolded on their lap) and using politeness during a dinner party. Go over other valuable instructions such as:

  • Always thank the cook once they have finished eating
  • Burping is not a compliment to the cook
  • Stay at the table until they are completely finished eating
  • Sitting up straight at the table
  • No double dipping. Instead place a small amount of dip on their plate

Allow your child to serve the appetizers to the guests when they show up and take orders of drinks for the guests, if you have a choice. Once dinner is getting ready to be served, instruct your child to pull out the seats for each of your guests.

Main points to address:

  • Have a real dinner party with close family.
  • Teach them proper table settings and the difference in silverware.
  • Have them act as the host for the party.

Resources
Resources that can help you in your venture include:

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