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How to Teach Your Child Etiquette

Normal 0 We teach our children by example.  When we practice etiquette at the dinner table, our children will see that it's important and follow our lead.    Start b...

Normal 0

We teach our children by example.  When we practice etiquette at the dinner table, our children will see that it's important and follow our lead. 


Start by teaching your kids to set the dinner table the proper way each night for dinner, so they can learn.  Most kids 5 and over are capable of setting the table by themselves.  First, of course, the plate goes in the middle, followed by the fork on the left and the knife on the right with the blade facing toward the plate with the top of the knife pointing to the glass or drink.  The spoon is last on the list and goes next to the knife.  The napkin may lay on top of the plate folded nicely or directly on the lap to avoid messy spills often incurred by small children.


Kids can learn etiquette at a very early age, some as early as three years old.  They can learn to speak in soft voices, use good manners, like not talking with their mouth full and by being respectful when asking for more of a certain food or drink.  Instead of screaming, "More chicken!" you could teach them to say, "Will you please pass the chicken?"  If they don't care for something that is on the table, encourage them not to mention it unless they are offered that item.  Instead of yelling, "I don't like mushrooms, they're yucky!" they could say, "I don't care for mushrooms, could I please have something else instead?"


One family generally dresses up for dinner one night a week with their fancy dresses and suits.  They get out the white tablecloth, China dishes, and fancy silverware at their house and teach their children how to act in a fancy environment.  The kids feel special because they are treated like princesses and royalty, and they act accordingly.  What little princess doesn't want to dine like one anyway?  This simple activity will teach them how to act in a situation they are not used to and how to act when they go out to eat at a nice restaurant or at a friend's home.  Children should also be taught how to say grace or a prayer of thanks on the food.  Many families still pray together, so your child should know what to do in such a situation.


After dinner, the children should be encouraged to thank the person who prepared the meal and may ask to be excused.  They should be taught to be independent and take their own plate, glass, and silverware to the sink and rinse their dishes and put fine dishes to the side of the sink and not inside (to avoid breaking them).  Next they will be free to continue playing or continue with previous activities.


Teaching children etiquette is important.  It is a valuable skill that they will use through out their lives.  It will help them to be more comfortable at schoolArticle Submission, social events and later in life when they are dating or courting.  Good etiquette also reflects well on the parents because it is clear they are teaching their children fundamental skills that will last a lifetime.


Try teaching your children good etiquette.  You have nothing to lose!

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Shelby Strong is a stay at home mom of 2 girls and a boy.  She is also a small business owner of an at home business called My Cute Dressups.  Visit her site at  She has seen the immense benefits princess dress up costumes and boy costumes has made in the life of her kids.

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