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Children's table manners and frequency of instillation thereof...

(8 Posts)
SorciereAnna Tue 27-Oct-09 14:22:13

This is following on from various discussions we have had on this topic at home.

I think that good table manners are modelled for children, and explained to them, at nearly every meal from the earliest age, by 4/5 (depending on their motor skills development) they should have mastered most basic table skills (eating with a knife and fork, eating with their mouths closed, not interrupting, waiting for others before starting/asking for second helpings, asking to get down etc).

What do you think?

SorciereAnna Tue 27-Oct-09 14:22:38

if good table manners...

gizmo Tue 27-Oct-09 14:26:22

I would agree, in theory, and my two have the rudiments of what you describe.

But in practice, and particularly in public, if we achieve a 75% hit rate we are doing outstandingly well. So I'm not going to rush to judgement on the next table of children I see eating with their elbows.

reikizen Tue 27-Oct-09 14:26:24

Yes, but not to the point where mealtimes become some sort of moan fest tbh. Choose your moment I think, and don't get on their back if they are really tired etc.

traceybath Tue 27-Oct-09 15:31:19

I agree but am surprised at how many children of 5+ do eat with mouths open. They can't all have adenoid/nasal congestion problems.

Bucharest Tue 27-Oct-09 15:34:21

I agree totally with Anna.

They learn what they see.

The problem is so few families eat, at a table, a meal, all together these days.

SorciereAnna Tue 27-Oct-09 16:44:44

DP despairs of the DSSs' (12, 14) table manners - they have never really mastered them - and cannot understand why they have failed to grasp them when he has been stating their importance to them at every available opportunity since they were tiny. Whereas DD (almost 5) got there ages ago.

The point being that the DSSs have eaten 90% of their meals in life without a parent present...

choosyfloosy Tue 27-Oct-09 22:04:32

I do think children can very easily get there by 4/5, or earlier in some cases with stricter parents than us - by which I don't mean a moan-fest, just absolute consistency and firmness - am thinking about one particular family whose children's manners are amazing. We do moderately well, and eat together all the bloody time, but we are just not strict enough to get higher than about 70%.

The thing is though, as children get older, surely they are likely to have a flood of influence from their peer group et al - meals at school, meals at other children's houses, meals in different situations with different rules - and the lowest common denominator may occur, because any typically developing child with typical social skills is likely to pick up what is standard for their peer group very quickly. all you can do, as with most parenting, is give them tools so that they do know how to demonstrate the aspects of good manners that you care about, and then launch them off and hope for the best! I will be interested to see what ds's table manners are like aged 14 or so.

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