when do you need to worry about table manners?(22 Posts)
Just that, really.
DS is nearly 1, we've done a mix of finger foods and mashed up stuff, but always tried to encourage him to self-feed as much as poss.
Now he loves banging his spoon in the bowl while I feed him, or taking loaded spoons and waving them around before putting in mouth. When he's had enough he has a tendency to throw everything on the floor, and often wants to hold bowls/yogurt pots/whatever so he can poke/throw it everywhere.
I don't really mind all this, food is for fun and all that, and I do say things like 'no, put your spoon in the pot, not your hand' and 'no DS you've thrown the spoon on the floor you can't have it back' etc. Largely pointless, IMO as I think he's too young to be table trained, as it were, but MIL has made some comments. Made me wonder when I should be worrying about trying to encourage table manners? Is it already too late?
oh blossom you poor thing, too late? No not at all. DS1 is 7 and has lovely recently developed table manners. Your baby will not have. He will bang stuff, chuck stuff about, not eat, eat etc etc He is a baby and by the time he is a small child no doubt he will have perfect table manners!
I would start gently encouraging good behaviour now - I wouldn't allow things to be thrown on the floor for example. By the age of 2 children should be able to sit nicely at the table, use a spoon and fork, and drink from an open cup without throwing food around.
Maja 2? I think you are being unrealistic. Neither of mine were like that at 2. 3 maybe
In my experience (working with this age group in nursery), the vast majority of 2 year olds are capable of this once they understand what the expectation is - even those who don't eat at the table or use cutlery at home pick it up very quickly.
Thanks ladies, I did think there might be differing views but good to know I'm not the only one who feels he shouldn't be perfect yet <looks pointedly at MIL>
I guess the next, related question is how I'm meant to start making him have table manners. For example maja how would you enforce the not allowing spoons on floor thing. You can't just say 'no you dropped it, you can't have it back' (as I do with bath toys, for eg) because you need them.
funnys did you try and encourage your DC to sit nicely etc pre-2/3?
Also keen to learn how here!
Of course they can eat nicely by 2 - if you are remotely interested in teaching them.
Blossom - he's very little just now and a certain amount of 'feeling food' for texture is to be expected and accepted - it's good for them. However, it's now also time to start saying 'No DS, we don't throw food on the floor' 'No DS, we don't turn the bowl upside down' as well as praising him for good behaviour. He wont understand all of it, or even most of it, right now - but he will understand his action/your tone = 'isn't a good thing to do' and by the time he's 14/15 months he will be a lot better. It's an ongoing thing of course and he wont be perfect, but he also wont be a nightmare around food which some kids are allowed to be
blossom I have always encouraged my 2 boys to sit and eat nicely and they do now aged 3 and 7 but really they are still children and so will get distracted, will pick things up to eat with their fingers, will try to wander about. You just have to guide them and also understand the personality of your particular child. If they are enquiring by nature it will be a harder job to get them to sit still and eat without question. Like my nosy, fidgety bugger!
And you no doubt say no DC don't throw your food on the floor etc, but it takes time
Not sure it's that easy, given my nanny of 20 years experience, 4 children of her own, multiple grandchildren etc can't get my DS to be anything other than a horror show at meal times. Not about being 'interested' in teaching them, he's not interested in learning!
This is why I have shunned BLW for DC4. DC 1 & 2 were normally weaned some spoon feeding and finger food and were eating well with a spoon and fork by 15-18 months. DC3 was BLW and at 2.2 is still trying to use his hands for everything, he also spits food out and messes about with it, watching him eat makes me cringe.
I think the best way to learn good manners is by modelling them, but I think it's never too early for gentle reminders. I take DC3's food away now if he messes about with it after me asking him not to.
I've found my DS (16months) is good now when we are in a group environment and eating. We go to a couple of play groups where the kids have a snack and all eat together at a table with bowls and spoons etc. He is learning by watching the other children and when he bangs his spoon or tips his bowl upside down I will tell him, No DS we don't do xyz, all the other children are sitting and eating nicely. I will also tell him when he is sitting nicely and eating properly.
At home its a different story and he'll tip up his plate and grab the spoon off me etc. Just keep trying to encourage the good behaviour, it takes time and patience
and a lot of repeating yourself And tell the MIL to sod off
Gawd, I can't remember exactly when DS1 was able to eat without throwing stuff around! Although to be fair to him, he wasn't that bad really. He's only 5 now, my memory is shot - and now I've to go through it all again with DS2 in the next few months/years.
FWIW - I do know that he was pretty well table trained by 2 - if not perfect in terms of cutlery and cups, he did at least sit well and not throw his food around. We had been taking him out to restaurants etc. from very early on, so this helped, I guess (prepared to be completely thrown by DS2 being completely the opposite...)
Oh but yes, your MIL IBU and she should mind her own.
There are two rules of MILs Rule 1 MILs who disapprove should have their opinions carefully considered and then ignored or told to MYOB. Unless asked their opinion.
Rule 2 is the same as RULE 1
There is no way a one year old can understand table manners but as others have said you need to reinforce the behaviour you want him to learn and discourage the behaviour you don't want so he will learn.
In MILS time babies were probably spoon fed by an adult so had less chance to chuck stuff about.
I haven't even considered asking ds not to eat with his fingers. I suppose it depends how important table manners are to you in general.
I think there are far more important things to teach children.
DS, 22mos, is not allowed to throw things or to bang cutlery on the table. He gets into trouble for pushing his high chair away from the table and his main course can't be put away until at least one parent is finished theirs. All of this is about him not interrupting our meal though, rather than for the sake of politeness.
Never, My lot can manage in public and at school, at home I don't care.
My DDad drive my DSIS, me and DMUm so mad nagging we avoided eating with him.
Mine is 18mo and eats absolutely everything with his hands. Everything.
He knows how to use a spoon and if you tell him to will say "scoooooop" and do it once, whilst simultaneously shovelling it in with the other hand.
He sits at the table properly and knows not to throw things so only does so if in a strop
I'm just sort of hoping he'll get better over time. I refuse to spend the whole meal time telling him off and am more concerned with what he eats rather than what cutlery he uses tbh.
Ask me again in a year and I may feel different!
DD is 14 months, should I be teaching her to use the spoon? She is just above 0.4th percentile so I concerned that she will lose precious calorie oppurtunity if I do.
Sorry to steal your thread! Sounds like now is the time to start practicing some good behaviours.
Iceberg, we gave DS cutlery at every meal from about 11 months. I didn't teach him to use it but assumed he would pick it up from watching us. He is now, at 22mos, good with spoons and forks but hasn't grasped how a knife works yet.
I would say that most 2-3 year olds are able to sit at a table properly, and eat with a spoon or fork and drink from an open cup. That's my experience from working in a nursery. They made need a little reminding to keep their bum on the seat etc.
But I wouldn't expect them to sit for very long! 20 minutes at the most.
Oh, and as for 'manners' - eating with your mouth closed, using cutlery correctly (including knives), talking with your mouth full etc, I wouldn't really expect that to start until 5 ish.
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