Table manners at school(15 Posts)
Quite prepared to be told I'm being precious however....
DD2 is 4 and in reception. She has school dinners. Since starting school her table manners at home have got progressively worse - eating with her mouth open, elbows sticking out, slurping etc. Friends we invite home appear to eat in this unpleasant way too.
DD1 aged 7 says this is one of the reasons she has packed lunch so she doesn't have to sit with other children who eat with bad manners. It is noticeable that DD1's friends usually have awful table manners too.
I remember table manners being a huge deal at my primary school 30 odd years ago but I'm an old gimmer and went to a crazy church school which wasn't much like a normal primary.
Guess we just need quietly to reinforce nice eating at home but do schools not comment on table manners or encourage kids to eat nicely any more?
It's a staffing issue, most likely. Not enough LSAs to monitor every child.
I have 7/8 year old home for tea that won't/can't eat with a knife and fork!
Not really, there's a lot of children to serve and clean up after, as well as behaviour/ noise issues to deal with and very few lunchtime supervisors. The teachers will probably be off setting up for the afternoon lessons and the TAs don't get paid over lunch time so generally teachers/ TAs aren't on hand to encourage table manners at lunch time.
We have 3 sittings each of 90 children each in 1 hour. They queue and get their food from the kitchen staff, then go to a salad bar where a member of staff helps them with salad and guides them to a free seat. 2 other member of staff roam around wiping up spills, pouring water and encouraging children to eat, sorting any behaviour issues etc. The children raise a hand when full and the staff check that some of the food has been eaten. They don't have a huge amount of time to check table manners. Nearly everyday a child feels sick, or cries as they don't like peas so one of the members of staff is dealing with that.
She'll be eating far more meals at home than she ever will at school. Reinforce table manners there...
Each September we have to teach children how to use cutlery and behave at the table. Many children only ever eat finger foods in front of the TV.
We actually had a dinner supervisor who confessed her children ate Sunday lunch (including gravy) with their hands not a knife and fork!
I work in a very nice school and am frequently appalled by some of the table manners in the dining room. One thing I have learnt though is that children from other countries or cultures often have different norms when it comes to table manners. The way to place cutlery on the plate once finished being one example. Some may come from families where cutlery is not used at all, or where lifting the bowl to the mouth is considered the norm. I know there is the arguement of when in Rome ... but not all are starting on a level playing field.
That said amid those children are some born and raised here in the U.K in typical white British families who have just never learnt the basics.
I've had parents complain that their child is expected to use a fork because they aren't allowed at home
Dd's primary school used to invite parents and grandparents in for lunch with the children every so often. Normally on a Thursday - roast dinner day. I went a few times and didn't eat much as I was so put off by the children's eating, my Mum went in for grandparents day and was horrified at one child picking up a slice of roast beef dripping with gravy and tearing at it like a hungry dog. She stopped at the Headmistresses' office on her way out to complain.
My DD's table manners went a bit downhill at the same age and for the same reason. She was used to eating with a knife and fork and with a napkin on her lap and suddenly she had to eat with a fork and spoon and with a bib! Lots of slop, too. They get over it.
Can't you just reinforce at home?
I know sitting with friends can be influential however you can still ensure they know how to eat properly when you send them.
Just don't stand fir it. The eat properly or they don't eat at all.
We spend a lot of time reinforcing about table manners at school, as do our midday supervisors and kitchen staff.
Unfortunately, children just aren't taught them at home , let alone sit at a table and use a knife and fork, so it is an ongoing battle.
Really, table manners is one of the things to be taught at home, not expect school staff to teach.
I hear you!
Both DCs have picked up some bad habits from friends and I wince when some peers come for tea.
You do just have to reinforce, reinforce, reinforce. And strongly/almost over-the-top exactness to counterbalance what they experience at school.
One piece of advise though - make sure they have small enough cutlery at home. DS wanted to move to "big" cutlery way too soon. We let him, thinking that he had bigger cutlery at school so no harm in it. We are now backtracking, taken him back to children's cutlery and working on a major reward scheme to get him holding his fork properly again. Once we broke down the problem of his weird
cringeworthy grip it was because his fork was too big/long and he couldn't control it.
unless he held it like a shovel
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