Family Supper Etiquette

Every time I have the opportunity to visit a school lunchroom, I’m reminded that the last thing on anyone’s mind is manners or proper eating etiquette. Our children learn many of life’s lessons at school, but table manners and how to eat properly are not part of the lesson plan.  Our Sunday tradition is to have a family supper in our dining room. We make a special meal, put on a tablecloth and set the table as if we were expecting guests. The children get very excited, as they feel very grown up and we make a big fuss of them.  They are given proper glasses, in place of the plastic A,B,C ones that fill my dishwasher daily and we often use the beautiful silver my mother-in-law passed along to us, as it has the perfect size forks, spoons and knives for the children. It sure beats the multitude of character cutlery that takes up an entire drawer in my kitchen. At first the children balked at the idea of a meal not served on superhero or princess plates, but have now come to embrace the china and crystal set in front of them. Throughout the meal we try to engage with our kids and love Table Topics Family Addition – The kids take turns picking a card, reading the question and we all give our best answers. Throughout the meal we joke and laugh our way through manners 101 and hope that along the way something sticks and the gentle reminders will become a thing of the past as good manners and proper etiquette become the status quo. Sunday Family Supper Dining Etiquette:

  1. Put your napkin on your lap prior to beginning the meal.
  2. Never start eating until the last person at the table has their meal and everyone is seated.
  3. Don’t reach across to get something you need; ask the nearest person to please pass it.
  4. Please don’t talk with food in your mouth.
  5. Please chew with your mouth closed – lips together.
  6. Don’t rock the chair on its back legs (a great pet peeve of my husband)!
  7. Take the food on your fork or spoon up to your mouth. Not your mouth down to the fork or spoon. We are people not pets!
  8. In between eating you can rest your fork and knife on the plate in and upside down V. Silverware are not light sabers and should not be waved around the table.
  9. Try to use both your fork and knife and while doing so do your best to keep your elbows close to your side.
  10. When you are done with your meal place your fork and knife on the plate to the right side with blade in and fork in the upward position.