4. Pass the Peas and Qs
You like your steak done well and it was served medium rare. Before you cause a commotion about the meat or talk snidely about the chef adding too much salt to the soup, take a deep breath. The fuss will only teach your children that you have a sense of superiority and a quick temper. Model for them how to appropriately express your displeasure as well as how to be courteous to the wait staff. Say "please" and "thank you," make eye contact and compliment them for a job well done. Eating dinner is a way to share your values with your kids and teach them how to respect others, not just an excuse for ordering extra cheese fries.
5. Keep Them Busy
Sometimes kids just can't sit still. When they start to wiggle in their seats or migrate away from the table, you need to be prepared to draw them back in. Start a round of I Spy, 20 Questions, round robin storytelling, or play Hangman.
Even the topic of table manners can be a fun game, suggests Elerding. Assign kids to be the Manners Police to make sure adults are following the rules. They can prevent plate crashes by making sure everything is passed to the right and traffic moves smoothly. Need salt? Never pass it without the pepper! These two spices are best buds and etiquette calls for them to stick together, even if a person requested just one.
Other Care.com parents suggest bringing a special "restaurant bag" of toys and games that are only played when you're out to eat.
6. Teach Proper Etiquette
- Keep mouth closed while eating: "Address the matter with kindness," says Elerding. "Let them know they have permission to take their time when they are eating and asked to answer a question."
- Stop burping: Remind them to quietly say, "Excuse me," and move on. Everyone else at the table should not draw attention to the noise and act as if nothing happened, or you might receive a belch symphony.
- Wait to eat: Talk about this respectful rule before you arrive at the restaurant. If the last person waiting for her dish gives permission for everyone else to start, it's perfectly fine to pick up your fork and begin. Make it a game and have everyone sit on their hands until all plates are served.
7. Make Eating a Healthy Adventure
Reviewing the menu as a family can start a conversation about healthy eating. Can your son pick out the veggie with the most vitamin B? Which entree does he think would be the most unhealthy? Talk about good eating habits and agree to order an app or side dish for the family to share that's super good for you or one that has a food no one has tried before.
The above article was provided by Care.com