Perfectly Practical #77 - Table Manners

You now have decided to jump in and have your family sit down at the table for supper.  You know how to set the table and you know how to get the table conversation started.  But what about table manners? 

Like soccer, or piano, or cooking, practice makes perfect.  If we don't give our families a stage on which to practice their manners with a supportive audience in attendance, I feel like we are doing them a disservice. 

What happens when your little prince or princess is out on a date or worse, with a date's family, at dinner and your child does a great impression of a cow chewing cud at the table?  Or lets everyone see exactly how well their molars and bicuspids work as they regale the other diners with a hilarious story all the while the cement mixer-like food breakdown is given center stage.  Then there's the reaching, the interrupting, the food shoveling, or oh lawsy...the belching.

All of these manners (or lack thereof) are modelled at the dinner table.  Without ever suggesting to your child "do this" or "don't do that", they will pick up on many dos and don'ts themselves.  I am not oblivious to the uphill battle I have been climbing ever since Diva started on solid foods.  She has attended etiquette classes and has had ample opportunity to experience table time and the manners that accompany it; however, chewing with her mouth open seems to be our major hurdle.  Braces and the tongue crib have not helped matters.  I am letting you in on this just to encourage you that some manners do take time and constant gentle reminders.

The most basic table manners are:

#1 - If there is food in your mouth, keep it closed.
#2 - Use utensils and not your hands (except for where appropriate.)
#3 - Ask to be passed a plate (counterclockwise) instead of reaching.
#4 - Use a napkin.

Basically manners boil down to the golden rule.  I don't want to see someone else's food in their mouth so what makes me think they want to see mine? 

Manners are not about being stuffy or uncomfortable; instead, they are in place to ensure to comfort of everyone around you.
This is the fourth in a series about Family Suppertime. Here are the others:

Perfectly Practical #74 - Dinner Together at the Table
Perfectly Practical #75 - Highs & Lows
Perfectly Practical #76 - How to Set the Table

If you have any questions that you would like me to address in this series please write to me at parymoppins (at) ymail (dot) com and I will do my best to answer them.

This is part of We Are That Family's Works for Me Wednesday.