Table Manners Essentials: Eating Out With Kids
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The restaurant is the new home away from home for many people. It is the place where we gather with friends and family to eat, drink and enjoy the company of others.

In this busy world, it is easy to forget that eating out is a social activity.

Eating out with kids can be a challenge for some parents. One of the things that makes this difficult is table manners.

When it comes to dining with children, there are rules that must be followed so that everyone can have a good time.

Here are some tips on dining out with kids.

Put Down Your Cell Phones

Table Manners Essentials: Eating Out With Kids
Photo by Amina Filkins on Pexels

Your kids should know not to play with their phones and other electronic devices during meal time.

It is rude to stare at your phone when others are trying to enjoy their meal. They should also not talk on the phone during meals.

Having such bad manners will make the other people at the table uncomfortable.

They can easily disrupt other people’s conversations and ruin your meal. So, teach them to put down their cell phones and give their guests their full attention.

You can also tell them to turn off your phone and place it on silent mode or vibrate mode so that it does not bother anyone else in the restaurant.

This will also save battery life for when they need to use it again later in the day.

Know to Wait for Their Turn

Children should learn to wait for their turn to eat. They should not cut in line or interrupt others.

This rule is especially important if your family is eating out at a buffet style service. Teach your kids to wait for their turn and not to push in line or make a mess in the buffet line.

Tell them they can help themselves to the food that is available at the buffet. However, they should know not to take too much that they end up wasting food.

They should not just start eating without waiting for the others to finish picking their food.

Finally, they should also not sit on the chairs that are already occupied by other people at the table. Instead, they should sit on a vacant chair.

Don’t Leave The Table Mid-Meal

Children should not leave the table to play with their friends during meal time..

In fact, they should not even leave the table for a short time. The only exception is that they should  be allowed to go to the restroom and use it if they need it.

If they need to go to the restroom, they should know to at least ask for permission first. They should also not leave the table to get something from the restaurant or other people at the table

Children should know that eating out is an activity that involves all of them and they should stay at their seats until everyone has finished eating. This will make everyone at the table feel comfortable.

Be Careful Handling Breakable Items

Children should be taught to be careful when handling breakable items such as glass, plates and silverware.

These items can easily break or shatter if handled improperly. If a plate or glass breaks during the meal, it can cause them or others to get cut.

Tell your children not to handle these items with their bare hands. Instead, they should use their napkins or other kitchen utensils to handle them. Even better, they should just let you handle it.

If they need to handle them with their bare hands, they should always wash their hands first. This will help prevent any germs from getting on the table and spreading to others at the table.

Eat Slowly

Children should eat slowly and chew their food thoroughly.

This will help them get the most nutrition from their food. It will also help prevent them from eating too much or leaving food on their plates that they do not like.

You can tell your children to be sure to chew all of their food before swallowing it.

They should also make sure that they don’t rush through their meal. They should take time to enjoy the meal and take in all of the flavors and aromas of the foods they are eating.

Teach Them Proper Etiquette on Eating

Table Manners Essentials: Eating Out With Kids
Photo by Alex Green on Pexels

Last but not least, you should teach your children about basic table manners at the dinner table.

For example, kids don’t always know how to pick up their messes and eat with utensils. This can lead to a lot of embarrassment for them as well as their parents.

Make sure that they understand that they need to pick up their messes so everyone can enjoy their meal without embarrassment or staining.

You should also teach them the proper placement of their utensils. For example, when eating a steak, they should know to hold the knife on their right hand and the dinner fork on their left.

If they want to use their hands while eating, teach them how to use utensils properly and to place them neatly in front of them.

They should also know to cut their food to bite-sized pieces if they need to. This will keep the table from being littered with their crumbs.

It will also help them eat neater, since they won’t struggle fitting the food into their mouth.

Also, they should never be allowed to go and get something from another family member’s plate unless they are told that it is okay by you first.

They should know to eat from their individual plates. Reaching over and grabbing food from other people’s plates isn’t polite nor hygienic, as your child should know this.

Once they have grabbed their food, make sure they know to only eat from their own plates.

Knowing these rules of etiquette will  help keep the dining room clean as well as free from clutter for others who are dining at the same time.

Learn more about parenting tips and tricks and how to instill good etiquette in your children at Mindful Parent. Visit us now!