8 Table Manners for Kids Just in Time for Thanksgiving

There is a list a mile long that us mothers worry about when it comes to raising our children. I don’t know about you, but having good manners is one of those things I have tried to instill in my children since day one.

I bet you’re the same! You remember teaching your babies that throwing their food is not a good way to communicate. But instead “using their words” is how you express what you want or need. Or maybe you’re in that toddler stage right now and your little one insists on not wearing pants anywhere! Your mother instincts know you must guide them and lead them to the behavior that will save both you and them from embarrassment.

My kids are older now so as they’ve grown, manners and expectations have also grown. Their table manners are now more established. We aren’t worried about throwing food as much as we are about having devices at the table or coming to the table with a good attitude.

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8 Tips for Good (Children’s) Manners This Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving is coming up so it’s a great time to remind your kids of some of the simple ground rules of being good dinner guests. You can practice these at home and role play at dinner time.

1. Practice patience.

Remind your children that you should always wait until everyone has received their food before they can start eating. Usually, someone will pray a blessing over the food, or the host will make an announcement or say thank you to the guests.

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2. Be present.

Leave your devices, hats and other distractions at the door. Nothing is worse than a guest who has a phone or iPad or something at the table while everyone else is trying to hold a conversation.

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3. Don’t slouch.

Always sit up straight. This one is personal to me, but a slouchy eater just looks like they don’t care to be there.

4. Ask politely.

Teach your kids to ask for something they might want or need instead of reaching across the table. “Can you please pass the salt, David?”

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5. Pass politely.

Never comment on the food unless it’s a compliment. This is especially for young children who don’t yet have a kindness filter. They might say something like “I hate anything with peas in it,” just because they are being honest but remind them that there is a more appropriate way to handle food that they are not fond of. Like saying “No thank you,” or “ That looks delicious, but I’m going to pass for now.”

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6. Napkins are necessary.

When it comes to napkins have your kids practice placing it on their lap at the start of the meal. If they are a bit younger a napkin tucked in their shirt is still perfectly okay!

7. Food is not a toy.

Playing with your food in any way is not ok! If you are hosting have a kid table that has things like chalkboard placemats so fidgety kids can doodle while they wait to be served or after dinner!

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8. Dinner isn’t done until the table has been cleared.

Clean up after themselves or ask to help with any cleanup tasks. This is just going the extra mile to help relay to the host that they are thankful for the invite. It’s also an act of kindness when you can offer the host help. Even if she declines the thought is much appreciated!

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Having good manners is a great confidence builder and life skill they will use over and over. Instead of correcting our kids in front of friends, we try to best prepare them for the situation! Even if they don’t always “nail it” we know just like us adults they appreciate being prepared!

Even More Helpful Tips for You and Your Kids:

Cooking with Kids: The Basic Kitchen Skills Your Junior Chef Needs to Get Started

You Need to Make Family Game Night a Tradition

The Only Way to Travel with Children: Be Prepared