Thursday, February 10, 2011

The do's and don't's of dinnertime

Manners, its something that today we seem to have forgotten about, people rarely use 'sir' or  'm'am' these days. Elbows are on the table, hats worn, mouths chatting full of food. Its important that for family diner we remember that not only is it a time to spend with our kids, but also a time to teach them the right way to eat, and behave at the diner table. So I've provided a few tips for you folks, to keep it polite.

DO
  • Set the table: don't leave it up to your kids to pull the right knives and forks out of the drawer, a nicely set table is a great way to say 'this isn't eat and run'
  • Put the food out: Just like the previous tip, don't just have everybody take their food from the kitchen, put your food on plates and let your family and guests serve themselves on the table, this is a perfect opportunity to use 'please' and 'thank-you' when asking for the plates of food.
  • Demand Respect: be sure that your kids act nicely at the table, speaking with respect
  • Clean your plate: Only take what you can eat, if seconds are available then take them after you have cleared everything.
  • Start Early: the best way to instill good habits is to start when kids are young
  • Wash up: Dirty and dinner tables, should not be combined
  • Say Thank-you: after dinner, during dinner, before dinner, say thank you, its just plain rude to not say thank-you when someone cooks for you.
Don't
  • Chew or talk with your mouth open: This is disgusting, nobody wants to see half eaten food, so just wait. Don't feel rude if you don't answer someone's question immediately, they'll forgive you
  • Turn on the television: The television is one of the worst inventions when it comes to dinnertime. Spend this time finding out about your family's day; ask your kid to tell you three things that happened to them at school today, its a great way to start conversation
  • Leave the table early: its polite to wait until everybody is done, especially since mom usually ends up eating last.
  • Wear your hat: its impolite, especially for men, there is no reason to wear you hat at the table, its one of the oldest rules in the book so just follow it
  • Put your elbows on the table: or even worse lean over your plate while eating! Unless you're in a mess hall, and have a short amount of time to eat, there is no reason to be shoveling food into your mouth
  • Feed the animals: I think the worst trait of a dog is that it begs, please please please, when you eat keep the animals in another room, it can be tempting to feed an adorable puppy, but when he's a full grown dog begging at your feet, its awful. If you want to give your dog a treat, do it after dinner in his bowl.
I hope that this can help some of you bring a bit more etiquette into your lives. We're living in a world where it is  quickly becoming okay to behave like we don't care. Using manners just shows that we care and are thankful for the people that we are around. Teach your kids now so that later they will be able to do the same with their kids.

I wrote this blog post while participating in the SocialMoms and Kraft Homestyle Macaroni and Cheese blogging program, for a gift card worth $50. For more information on how you can participate, click here

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