Little Albert’s parents sat patiently at the dining table in the restaurant hoping their meals would soon arrive. They felt like they were waiting for a volcano to erupt because they didn’t know how much longer their three-year-old would sit still. Finally, after a wait of ten minutes, their waiter arrived with their order. By this time, Albert was hungry and ornery. He picked up the saucy strands of spaghetti with his hands and started feeding himself. Needless to say, he got spaghetti sauce all over his clothes, hands, and face. He was quite a sight as he chewed on his pasta with his mouth wide-open. After a few bites, he demanded to leave the restaurant; he just couldn’t sit still.
Do you dread taking your little one out to eat because he acts like little Albert every time? How can you enjoy time in a restaurant with your family without having to endure an embarrassing situation that reflects poorly on you, the parents?
At Chappell Schools, we work on fine dining skills with your children because they will need them to socialize properly with others throughout their lives. They also make your children more pleasant dining companions. We suggest you reinforce these table manners by practicing them with your child at home and when dining in a restaurant. By doing this, you will be helping to lay the groundwork now.
11 Dining Practices Your Preschooler Should Know
1. Always come to the dinner table with a clean face and hands to show respect to the person who prepared the meal and others sitting at the table. Make this a good hygiene habit.
2.Once everyone is seated at the table, unfold your napkin and place it on your lap. Use the napkin to remove any food on your hands and mouth throughout the meal.
3.Don’t begin eating until everyone is seated.
4.If you need to use the restroom in the middle of the meal, excuse yourself, and place your napkin on the seat of your chair not back on the table.
5.Take small bites of food and chew slowly with your mouth closed.
6.Don’t interrupt while others are speaking. Wait until there is a break in conversation.
7.Say “please” and “thank you” when requesting and receiving something.
8.Don’t reach for items across the table. Politely, ask someone near the item you need to pass it to you. Don’t say, “I want more potatoes.” Instead say, “Please pass the potatoes.”
9.Sit at the table for 15 to 30minutes without wiggling around or wandering.
10.When dining in a restaurant , look directly at the waiter and clearly order what you would like to eat.
11.When leaving the table, push the chair back under the table.
These are all dining practices your preschooler (aged 3-5) should know. Be patient with your children because it will take them time to make these dining practices good habits. Continue to give them reminders like a certain gesture to remind them that they are forgetting their dining manners. Read entertaining stories about dining manners to them that will help get your point across. Praise your children when they have mastered these dining practices. Let them know that when they show respect for others, they will get great things in return.
“I just wanted to say that we were extremely impressed and thoroughly enjoyed the VPK Fine Dining Extravaganza. Thank you so much for your time and energy that went into making the event special and memorable for the students and parents. My son (Willie) as well as the other students were so proud and majestic in their presentation, you could just see the honor they felt and enjoyed.
As a parent I applaud the efforts of you and the school to look at the whole child and provide experiences that not only lend to academic success but to increase social skills and knowledge.
Again, kudos to you and the entire staff for a job well done!!”
~Crystalene, FSCJ Downtown Campus Parent
Chappell Schools of Jacksonville, Florida has been providing child care and preschool learning programs for 55+ years. Our educational programs address the TOTAL child – cognitively, emotionally, physically, and socially. We pride ourselves on being voted one of the “Top 50 For-Profit Child Care Organizations in North America.” Visit one of our eight centers to see how we make learning fun by contacting us at 904.739.1279. To get more child care tips, please “Like” our Facebook page.