Special mealtimes are wonderful opportunities to create bonds and memories for families. Most major milestone events are usually celebrated with a large gathering of people around an elegant, gorgeous table. To increase your children’s confidence at the table, use these occasions to teach them impeccable dining manners.

  1. Come to the table on time with hands and face clean.
  2. Sit politely in the chair. Don’t tip it back as you may fall or break the chair.
  3. Wait until the Host says to begin – either with an announcement or a Blessing.
  4. The napkin goes on the lap…not tucked in the chin. Nor do you smack your sibling with it. Never blow your nose, put bones or pits or gum in your napkin. Elbows off the table!!
  5. Pass the platters of food to the right and keep the food moving while it’s still hot. Don’t let the food crowd in front of you. And ask politely if you want something passed to you. Salt & pepper shakers always move around the table as a unit.
  6. Hold the cutlery properly. You’re not stabbing the meat with the fork. Put the knife & fork in the resting position (like a triangle on the plate). And when you’re finished, put the cutlery side by side at the 10 & 4 o’clock position imagining the plate as a clock.
  7. Don’t be afraid to try everything. The Host may be offended if you turn your nose up at something that seems strange. You may be pleasantly surprised.
  8. Keep your mouth closed while chewing…your mouth is empty when talking or taking a drink of water.
  9. Your conversation should be polite and not gross anyone out. Parents, plan ahead with some interesting questions to get some good conversation started for your children.
  10. You should sit up-right in the chair to avoid your face moving toward the plate. The food should move to the mouth rather than the mouth moving toward the food. If you have to leave the table momentarily, just say, “Excuse me” and put the napkin on the chair. Return and remain at the table until the meal is finished.

Many Canadian families will be celebrating Thanksgiving this weekend. Let’s recall the many blessings that living in Canada has afforded us. Freedom of speech/assembly/religion, good healthcare, education, job opportunities, good government (most of the time!), fair elections…the list goes on. Point these things out to your children/grandchildren. Ask them what they are thankful for…it may pleasantly surprise you. I wish all of you a Blessed Thanksgiving celebration!!

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