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Friday, October 14, 2011

Teaching Table Etiquette

The children are learning how to properly set a table.
My friend Kathryn invited us and another family over to teach our children a lesson on Table Etiquette.  The children ranged in ages from 5 to 10-years-old and participated with enthusiasm. 

Kathryn began by briefly explaining to the children what they would be learning - table etiquette. This is what followed:
  • She asked the children what should be the first thing they do before sitting at the table to eat.  I loved the first response some of the children gave, "Pray." Kathryn explained that the first thing they should do is wash their hands.  She then had them provide reasons why this was of importance.
  • She showed the children a printout of a table setting and explained where each piece of silverware, glass, and napkin should be placed upon a table. 
  • After the children washed their hands, they each sat at the table and practiced setting it as they were each handed a piece of item.

Following are some of the table etiquette topics covered:
  • The placing of the napkin on one's lap when seated
  • The importance of keeping elbows off the table and sitting still
  • The proper amount of food serving one should begin with (It was explained that you begin with one serving size in order that everyone at the table may have a serving.)
  • When to begin eating - after others start
  • How to cut a piece of food using a knife and fork (this was for the younger children)
  • How to politely ask for a food item verses reaching across the table
  • The importance of chewing with one's mouth closed
  • How one should always be considerate towards their hostess by always trying a small portion of the meal, even if it looks distasteful (We explained the importance certain cultures place on meals and how insulting it would be in that culture to refuse to eat their food.)
  • How to discreetly get rid of something distasteful from one's mouth - by placing a napkin to the mouth and emitting the food item into the napkin
  • The proper way to dismiss oneself from the table - by asking to be excused
The children really enjoyed themselves and it was a pleasure to see them do so well with all of the instructions given. The moms had a fun time too.

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