Suzie with WYAM TV in Decatur, Alabama posed a question at the beginning of today’s interview with a weighty question worth exploring. Suzie felt children were nervous about going to the homes of friends because they were nervous about their lack of dining skills. Let’s approach this in a few easy steps.
Being a good guest is important and it’s not just about showing up. Often times a young person’s nerves can be quieted just by the way in which an adult welcomes them. Eye contact, a smile, maybe a handshake and saying the person’s name sounds simple when saying hello, but it leaves a positive impression. Make no mistake, this is true when those children begin to date and later enter the work environment. Teaching your children how to respond when greeted and how to greet others will be a skill they can use throughout their life.
How do you teach dining skills to your children? Let us just toot our horn for a minute. Well, less than a minute. Our book “Which Fork Do I Use?” is an excellent teaching tool for any age, from children to adults. With it’s picture heavy content, it is easy-to-follow, chockful of information, and accurate! Ok, moving on.
Began by teaching children to set the table on a daily or weekly schedule. This alone will help them to understand table setting basics and why you need certain implements or dishes at each place setting. Teach them to ask you “what are we serving?” The answer dictates what is needed. Beginning with a dinner plate, instruct your child where to put a beverage glass, which side of the plate the knife, fork and soup spoon (if serving soup) are placed, and to set a paper or cloth napkin for each diner. Encouraging your children to learn a festive napkin fold or two will encourage their creativity and thus they will feel empowered.
Teaching children table manners is an entire chapter on its own. For today, let’s just conclude by saying lifetime dining skills will serve your children well. After all, no one wants their child to be known as the guest who dines like a caveman.