5 year old - 'normal' table manners?

(10 Posts)
Forkandknife Thu 17-Jul-14 19:20:41

Not a big issue, but I'm just wondering what 'normal' table manners are for a 5 year old, having received a list of "expected table manners" from the school which DS (my eldest, so I've nothing to compare him with their than a vegetable throwing toddler) will be starting at after the summer, which seems ambitious to me (and I'm wondering if we need to spend time working on this, or if it's just a wish list which the school will expect children to work towards).

School specify that children are to use correct cutlery and cut their own food. DS uses a knife and fork (and has done for years) but I will still often give him a spoon, which I let him use for food like baked beans or peas.

He will attempt to cut his own food, and manages fine with things like potatoes, but I still cut his meat for him. He uses his fingers to eat things like pizza (but then so do I grin). He sometimes uses his fingers to push food onto his fork, rather than a knife (although he knows that he shouldn't, really).

He knows not to speak with his mouth full, but frequently does. He know not to put his elbows on the table during mealtimes, but frequently does. He is good at asking to leave the table at the end of the meal, rather than just getting down. He is not good at asking for things to be passed to him rather than just stretching. He still spills "sloppy" food quite a lot (e.g. soup).

Sound ok for a 5 year old? The school's list makes it sound like they are expecting polished adult table manners. Which I would love him to have, but are not the reality. I really just want to make sure that he seems OK for 5! I've always been more concerned about him eating well and not being fussy than I have about the finer details of mealtimes.

fledermaus Thu 17-Jul-14 19:22:44

What does the school expect? Knife and fork and cutting own food seems reasonable - no one is going to do it for them.

BadRoly Thu 17-Jul-14 19:25:21

Sounds much like my 5yo who is about to finish reception.

But from helping out in the past in reception class, there will be some children who don't regularly sit at a table for meals and some who don't know how to use cutlery. The school can't know which these are so sends a standard latter to all.

Have you had one about using the toilet/washing hands/getting dressed/putting coats on and fastening them yet? smile

Forkandknife Thu 17-Jul-14 19:30:18

School's list is basically the things I have alluded to above. 12 points in total, things like no talking with their mouths full, no elbows on table, asking for condiments to be passed rather than stretching. The usual.

Whether or not he can cut up his food will depend on what it is. They will be given a cooked meal each lunchtime (no choice). Things like fish will be fine, but he may struggle with meat. They do have lunchtime supervisors (policing the manners and making sure that children are actually eating, as I understand it) - will they not be able to help? Or hopefully the school will stick to reasonably child-friendly options which won't cause major problems.

Forkandknife Thu 17-Jul-14 19:32:18

No Roly, we've not had that letter! Hopefully we're covered on that score...!

BadRoly Thu 17-Jul-14 19:39:50

If I were you, I'd practise over the summer letting him cut his own food, gently remind him to ask for things (with please and thank you) and anything else that strikes you from the list. He won't be perfect but if he knows what is expected, he might not find it so hard when he actually starts.

The first term in our reception class involves 'snack' sat at a table in small groups, the children are reminded (trained?) to use a plate, say please and thank you, not speak with a mouthful, ask to leave the table/get down and clear their cup and plate to the sink. My 'job' was to sit with them and prompt those who really had no idea sad

Forkandknife Thu 17-Jul-14 19:43:32

Thanks Roly. I guess summer is a good time to practise, when mealtimes are less hurried.

Poor children sad.

fledermaus Thu 17-Jul-14 19:45:09

Elbows off the table seems a bit random to me, I have never understood (or enforced) that one!

The rest is all stuff that they'll be aiming for rather than expecting all the children to have perfect manners immediately I would think - they just don't want eating with your mouth closed/asking to get down to come as a complete shock to any children.

There won't be very many lunchtime supervisors, not enough to cut up 30 children's food anyway.

addictedtosugar Thu 17-Jul-14 20:07:56

My 5 yr old seems to be at the same stage as Roly's.

Lots of the food doesn't need "cutting" but more separating. Sausages are one thing that would need cutting.
The roast meals are all very thinly sliced, and can almost be pulled apart. I'd say most is fairly easy to cut for little people, but there is no harm in starting to get him to start trying (or better still, you start it off, and let him finish it off)

All our school shirts have soup / bean juice / spag bol stains on!

Forkandknife Thu 17-Jul-14 22:25:39

Thanks, am reassured that he is fairly normal. He'd managed fine with separating food, and can cut sausages, just not tough meat. But I guess, as you point out, that's unlikely to be on the menu.

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