As keepers of our tables, we do have a say as to how table manners will be dished out over all mealtime gatherings. Sometimes, it may feel pointless to keep asking little Sally to stay seated when it’s the ten-thousandth time you’ve asked her to stay in her chair. It doesn’t help if big brother is licking his knife. The trouble parents go through to command a little table respect is a task that can bring blessed peace to the family dinner hour. After all, you deserve it after busting your tails getting food on the table, right?
Back to Basics: These ought to sound familiar and, I’m sure, are in full expectation at your gracious table:
- Elbows off the table
- No chewing with your mouth open
- Set the table correctly and pass food to the right
- Put salt, pepper and butter on the table
To get the ball rolling for more peace at your table, start by creating a game that teaches kids how to set your table correctly. This lets the kids know what is being served and what utensils, etc… need to be on the table to make polite eating possible.
One child per meal, describe the meal to the children in great detail. Use descriptive words such as “golden mashed potatoes, Hereford steak with a secret sauce and sweet cherry tomatoes.” Then ask them to assess the menu and determine what goes on the table. Learning how to set the table according to what is being served teaches them to ask questions about the food and how to work a place setting which will come in very handy when sitting across from a potential employer sizing them up for employment!
Be detailed, descriptive and energetic about this game. Other siblings, friends, parents or make-believe friends can cheer on (or egg on) the player. Add a timer to the game to see if they can beat their time when it’s their turn to go again! And, if they miss something, like salt and pepper, they have one extra job after dinner like taking mommy’s plate to the sink or wiping down the table. When they master the place setting, they win the prize of being served first and someone else taking their dirty plate to the sink.
Kids and adults like games that make fun of what, otherwise, might seem boring and stuffy. Anything that creates peace at the table without hindering the learning of everyday good living is well worth the effort.
And, if you want another smashing idea to keep mealtime peace filling your cup, how about attending a dining etiquette class where someone besides you gets the tasks of teaching manners? Sign up for this one-of-a-kind class and enjoy seeing the change happen overnight! To register, contact Tiffany Nielsen at 559-280-9859.
Tiffany Nielsen shows men and women of all ages how to stand out-not stick out socially and professionally. She is the President of Premier Etiquette, a full-service etiquette and image training and consulting company, and co-author of The Power of Civility and Incredible Business. Visit her website at www.tiffanynielsen.com to learn more about how you can thrive socially and professionally!
Copyright 2011 Tiffany Nielsen. All Rights Reserved. To reprint, please contact Tiffany Nielsen at firstname.lastname@example.org for permission. www.tiffanyynielsen.com