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Table manners for 3.0year old

(19 Posts)
Pennies Thu 06-Sep-07 17:50:37

What is reasonable to expect in terms of table manners in a child aged just 3?

Greensleeves Thu 06-Sep-07 17:55:34

My ds2 turned three last month. He eats with spoon/fork, is expected to make the minimum of mess and stay at the table, on his chair, etc (although he does of course get sidetracked and wander off every now and again). I do (pleasantly) insist that they take their plates/cups etc to the sink when they have had enough, transfer unwanted bits to the bin/rabbit bowl etc, and clear up any mess incurred on the table/floor. He's 75% fine with all of that, with the odd spectacular slip-up/show of defiance grin

HonoriaGlossop Thu 06-Sep-07 18:33:03

I think all you can expect is that they'l understand that if they get down and wander off, they're finished; dinner will be gone and there won't be more till the next meal.

Other than that I think a whole range from Greensleeves pretty amazing example to kids who use their fingers and can't ackle with cutlery and are chronically messy. I wouldn't agonise too much, wherever they are on that scale, personally. Just 3 is very young indeed.

And I think role modelling what to do is far, far better than 'training' if that consists of basically nagging away about things during the meal. Most importantly eating at the table should be fun and a pleasure.

Pennies Thu 06-Sep-07 19:21:38

Cool. DD's nursery teacher today said that she refused to eat lunch with her fork or spoon, implying that she had got the impression that she didn't know how to use them, despite the fact that she's absolutely fine with it since she was tiny (or should I say tinier).

I was just wondering if she thought that if DD coudn't use cutlery then this was utterly unusual.

Also annoyed that DD decided to get all contrary with her new 'teacher' on her second day blush.

NannyL Thu 06-Sep-07 21:20:57

my youngest chareg turned 2 this week

he is still in a high chair but will shortly move to a booster chair so getting down is not an issue

he is expected to use his spoon / fork to feed himself, (not his fingers)

4 year old brother as above but has a knife, fork and spoon to chosoe from. He is expected to sit with his bottom in the middle of his chair and legs under the table, eat 'nicely' talk sensibly and wait for all to finish before finish and sa thank you for his meal and politely ask to leave the table.

If he doesnt eat all / most of his dinner then no pudding and nothing except water until the next meal

tbh of the 14 children who i have regualarly looked after over the past few years none of them would dream of getting down from the table!

NannyL Thu 06-Sep-07 21:22:16

my youngest chareg turned 2 this week

he is still in a high chair but will shortly move to a booster chair so getting down is not an issue

he is expected to use his spoon / fork to feed himself, (not his fingers)

4 year old brother as above but has a knife, fork and spoon to chosoe from. He is expected to sit with his bottom in the middle of his chair and legs under the table, eat 'nicely' talk sensibly and wait for all to finish before finish and sa thank you for his meal and politely ask to leave the table.

If he doesnt eat all / most of his dinner then no pudding and nothing except water until the next meal

tbh of the 14 children who i have regualarly looked after over the past few years none of them would dream of getting down from the table!

HonoriaGlossop Thu 06-Sep-07 22:26:13

That's a bit like training in my view.

I think it's a tad over controlling to tell a child to sit on the middle of the chair and where to put his legs. I know some people like them to wait till everyone has finished but I think four is even a little young for that. Of course I'm not saying they are not capable of doing it - because children ARE trainable; just that it's a bit sad really. All this will come, if you just sit together as a family and role model to them how adults sit, and talk....I just don't think this amount of control is necessary.

mummymagic Thu 06-Sep-07 22:41:56

PMSL at middle of the chair

NannyL Fri 07-Sep-07 07:59:11

if he is not in the midle of the chair he his half standing on the floor.... which i cant stand....

i REALLY cannot stand children who stand at the table hmm

therefor if his bottom is in the middle of his chair then he is sitting on the chair 'normally'

law3 Fri 07-Sep-07 11:29:43

my 3.6 year old sits at the table quite well with the rest of us, more for the chat than the food, doesnt eat much, can use a knife and fork, but i dont mind fingers for chips etc (obviously not for yoghurt)

He might knock things off the side of his plate by accident, particularly when trying to stab a chip or something with his fork, he says ooops, picks it up and puts it back. If he spills his drink, its never mind and i clear it up. Food on the floor the dog eats!!

harpsichordcarrier Fri 07-Sep-07 11:34:20

blimey all this bottom in the middle of the chair and never getting donw shock how bizarre! these are children what happened to enjoying your food and having a relaxed /social time at the table.
it all sounds positively Dickensian.

when dd was three (she is four now) she sat at the table most of time Though she often has to get down and give her sister a kiss grin) and ate with a knife and fork some of the time. she also <horror> enjoyed her food imagine that.
I think turning the dinner table into a battleground or making petty rules ruins everyone's appetite.

law3 Fri 07-Sep-07 11:57:13

nannyl - talk sensibly?? is laughing, jokes etc allowed?

kindersurprise Fri 07-Sep-07 12:33:38

My DS eats with fork and spoon and is learning at present how to use a knife. He has just started kindergarten and they said it would be good if we started teaching him to use cutlery before he went.

The children in kindergarten set the table, dish out their own food (if it is not too hot) eat with minimum of hopping around, etc. After lunch they have a rota which children help to clean up. They even let the children help chop apples, do dishes etc.
I have been there at lunchtime and was amazed how well behaved they were.

At home it is not quite so civilised I do make sure that they don't get down from the table until they have had enough to eat and that the use cutlery most of the time. I am not fanatical about how they sit, as long as bums are on seats, that is fine by me. If they don't finish their meal, then no treat/pudding afterwards. (or rather they have to eat a decent amount, obviously if they have had enough to eat I don't force feed them)

I think if you start between 2 and 3 to install some basic manners, then it is easier when they get older.

HonoriaGlossop Fri 07-Sep-07 15:01:29

HC I totally agree with you.

tori32 Fri 07-Sep-07 15:18:33

I CM and have a 2.1, 2.2 and 20mth old, all the children eat together and can use a fork and spoon, make minimal mess and don't leave the table until everyone is finished. Manners need to be taught early so its the norm. If my dd faffs with her meal I ensure she waits until everyone has finished and she is deliberately helped down last. This makes her realise that just because she doesn't want to eat, she also doesn't get to play any quicker. grin <nasty mummy>

Anna8888 Fri 07-Sep-07 15:28:04

To eat cleanly with a small metal fork and perhaps a knife (Ikea do great child sized ones) off a melamine plate with a melamine cup (no handles or beaker) or perhaps a glass and use a paper napkin. No bib. Perhaps introduce a china plate at this age.

Pudding eaten with a small metal spoon from a bowl (melamine or china).

To stay at table for a full family meal.

To participate in the conversation.

To ask for more using a spontaneous please and to give a spontaneous thank you.

To ask to get down at the end of a meal.

law3 Fri 07-Sep-07 15:32:59

some strange ideas, but hey each to their own!!

My 3 year old can get down, but usually stays long after the meal has finished, as we all sit chatting.

We all sit down as a family in the evening, but he doesnt sit at the table for every meal. He sometimes walks around eating a bit of bread or plays and eats, watches TV eating a yoghurt.

NannyL Fri 07-Sep-07 22:52:04

Dinner at my table is a happy social time... We all sit down and get on and eat the food and chat and have a nice time

of course laughing and joking is allowed hmm

Sorry it if it offends anyone but i WONT have children standing / half standing at the table... guess if you want your children to stand up while they eat their food at the table them i am not the nanny for you!

talking sensibly means no screaching and making 'rediculouse' noises for the sake of it... noises that you would consider rude, (not burps etc) but silly rediclouse screams and shouts and 'munch munch stupid 'im deliberatly being silly' noises that children can make.

general chit chat and conversations that involve talking about noises are obviosuly fine. ie did you here the train, yes it went toot toot (we live by a railway) are obviosuly fine, or we went to the farm what did we see (also live by a farm that we visit VERY regularly).... going SLUURRRRPPPP ..... HHHAAAAHHHHHH while you drink your drink loudly on purpose is NOT acceptable for a 4 year old IMO. Would NOT be acceptable when he eats at his school either so we have to be consistent wink

law3 Sat 08-Sep-07 09:02:14

nannyL - Sorry, its just you sounded very stern in the previous post, i had visions of the children sitting bolt upright in silence!!!

You sound a bit more 'human' now!!!!

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