Table manners essentials: Eating out with kids
Every adult loves to go out and have dinner at a restaurant, but sometimes doing it with children can be a little hectic. Teaching your children to have table manners should start at home...
That way when you decide to go out they are already prepared of it. One good thing to think about when deciding to eat out with your children is to try and find kid friendly restaurants.
These places still offer a good selection on the menu for adults, but also have sensible things for the kids to eat. Let's face it, your 3-year-old is not going to want to eat escargo. There are a few things that you should start teaching your child at home before even thinking about going out. Make it a family restaurant night at home, so your child can practice their table manners.
Demonstrate to your kids
Show them how to properly use their eating utensils. Make sure they know which foods to eat with a fork and which ones to eat with a spoon. Now there are very rare times when a kid will need to eat with a salad fork, but you may still want them to know what the difference is. One thing I always do is remove the knife from the kids silverware kit. There is no reason for them to have a knife and I have found that some restaurants have steak knives in those things.
Use an "inside voice"
Teach them to use an inside voice when they are in a restaurant. I get my kids use to doing that in our house, this makes it easier for when we go off somewhere. Not to mention my house has hardwood floors through out the whole thing and the echo is bad when all four of them get to going. So using an inside voice is something they learned young. It will also help them when they go into places like a library or theater.
The trick is sitting still
Now this one may sometimes prove a little difficult. Teaching the kids to sit still. It is hard yes, but it can be done. If for some reason you find it difficult, you can always start taking a few things to help keep them occupied while you are waiting for your food. Small electronic games( with the volume low) and crayons with coloring books is a great way to help keep them occupied.
Close your mouth while chewing
Nobody wants to hear mouths smacking while they are eating, so teach your children to eat with their mouth closed. I have been in restaurants where I have actually heard kids chewing with their mouths open, it was awful. It is not really hard to teach them to chew with their mouths closed, it is more repetative then anything else. And make sure you throw in no talking with food in your mouth with that lesson. I believe they go hand in hand.
Plates are there for a reason
The hardest thing to teach my children was to eat over their plates. For some reason they always wanted to bring the food to their face while not moving the rest of their body. It was a mess, but that could also help to teach them to place a napkin in their lap while they are eating. So that lesson actually had two things involved in it.
A family treat
Eating out should be something you can do as a family. The kids will enjoy it just as much as you do, especially on family vacations. Eating in a restaurant is something you will have to do when you are away from home. Just start them at home and make it fun for the whole family and in no time you will have proper little children that are a joy to take out.