Most of us have had the unfortunate experience of being in a restaurant, about to eat an exquisite meal, when the children from the table next to ours decide to become loud and unruly. Unfortunately, the same low level of dining etiquette can be seen in adults too (if you need a reminder yourself, take a look at this helpful overview of language, culture, customs and etiquette in the U.K. from Kwintessential). There is nothing worse than having to sit opposite someone when eating a meal who shouts across the table at you, sends their food flying off their plate because they cannot cut a piece of meat properly or continuously slurps their soup for 15 minutes. Where are their manners?
Helping your child to understand the importance of great dining etiquette is paramount to good manners. Not only will it make the experience of eating together more enjoyable, but it will also continue to develop your child’s confidence and sense of self-worth. When given the opportunity to learn dining etiquette children will be able to confidently handle social situations appropriately and with ease as they grow older and that’s exactly what we want to help our children achieve, isn’t it? Preparing our children now for a successful future is a top priority!
Our children are a reflection of ourselves
Children need to learn from an early age how to hold a knife and fork correctly, not to shout out across the table to someone occupying a distant chair or grab the food on their plate with their fingers. In addition to making the children look poorly behaved and uncivilized, it also reflects negatively on the parents, giving the impression they have not taught their children proper table manners. Therefore, not only is good dining etiquette great for the children, it’s also good for the public image of the parents and the family as a whole.
Learning from a young age
Young children are very impressionable and eager to learn, so there is absolutely no reason why they should not be taught from a young age how to conduct themselves in a proper manner at the dining table. Good dining etiquette is just basic good manners, but we also need to consider how dining etiquette may change from culture to culture and ensure we are aware of these differences. When we give our children the opportunity to learn and grow through a culturally diverse awareness, we are giving them the very best opportunities to succeed in a world that’s not as big as it once was.
So, what’s your family’s approach to dining etiquette? Have you found success? If not, what challenges have you come across with your children?
Dining etiquette is just one element taught through the Niche Etiquette Children (NEC) Programme. If you’re interested in learning more or if you have questions, please do feel free to leave a comment below or send me a message. Looking for etiquette classes for your child (ages 7-13 years) in the London area? Read about our January 2014 classes here.
Check back next week when we’ll be talking about first impressions and our choice of dress…is your child’s dress sense leaving a good impression?
Until next time, have a great week!