Teaching Your Child Restaurant Manners

My child’s manners are fine–as long as we only eat at “Chuck E. Cheese”!

Q:  “I can barely keep our children seated when we go to a regular restaurant, how am I supposed to get them to learn and use proper table manners?”  –A dad

A:  You introduce one thing at a time.  If you have never or rarely spoken to your children about table manners, the results are apparent.  First of all, do you demonstrate good table manners?  Or, are you in the, “Do as I say, not as I do.” camp.  If you aren’t sure of what is acceptable at the table, look on-line, check out a manners book from the library, or hire an etiquette consultant to join you on your next family dinner.

Secondly, Select one skill at a time, and  work on it. Learning everything at once can be frustrating and overwhelming to everyone concerned.  Do not expect to sprinkle the new information into their little heads and vioilá, an Emily Post descendant right before your eyes.   Breaking a habit of running wild, getting up and down from their seat, using their hands instead of a fork, speaking in a loud voice, shoveling loads of food with every bite, will take time to conquer.

I recommend starting with “big bites.” Explain, or even demonstrate that it looks gross, they can choke, and they can’t be understood when speaking.

  • Keep the lessons and demonstrations short and simple.
  • Explain that it’s your job to teach them. Besides you want to avoid someone else pointing it out and making fun of them. 
  • Develop a “secret code.”  Touching your chin or cheek can be a signal to your child to let them know they are breaking the rule.  That way, dinner is not disrupted, the child is not embarrassed, and no one gets mad.
  • Use bribery.  For example:  If you take smaller bites throughout this entire meal, you can (fill-in the blank).
  • Designate one evening as “caveman night.”  Allow everyone to enjoy their meal however they want.  (It can get messy and fun.)

Please use discretion.  Some of these ideas are too advanced for small children, and should be adjusted for older children.  The most important thing to keep in mind is to avoid reprimanding your child in public. Also, these are only suggestions–no guarantee. 

And finally, how are your table manners; monkey see, monkey do.

Bon appetit!

Helping businesses and individuals find success through better communication and social skills. 

social skills, communication, soft skillsRosalinda Oropeza Randall, Social Skills and Civility Presenter, Media Source, and author of “Don’t Burp in the Boardroom.”

She also offers customized presentations geared for specific audiences including: Startups, IT Professionals, Service Professionals, Sales Professionals, New Hires, Millennials, and an entire series for College and University students and athletes moving from the classroom into the workplace.. For more information, please contact me. 650.871.6200.

© 2017, Rosalinda Randall.