Teaching kids proper mealtime behaviour
Oliver is only three, but he already knows some table manner basics. He uses a fork and spoon to eat, and says please and thank you when he asks for things. And while Jessica Fleury, his mom, says, “I don’t think preschoolers need to sit at the table for an hour while adults chat,” Oliver is expected to stay in his seat until he’s done eating. (That’s not as easy as it sounds: Fleury says, “We live on a flight path, and he loves to jump up to watch a plane go by.”) After his meal, Oliver says, “I’m done, thank you,” and carries his plate to the sink.
His parents do their part to help Oliver succeed. “He’s a very picky eater, but we do try to serve at least one food he likes with each meal so he eats with the rest of us,” says Fleury. “We try to set a good example, and to maintain a conversation that he can be involved in.”
Mackenzie, also three, is well on her way to having good table manners too. She uses a napkin to wipe her mouth, although she has a little trouble keeping it on her lap. She’s learning to chew with her mouth closed and swallow her food before speaking. Though it’s sometimes hard to wait, she knows she shouldn’t just interrupt and will ask, “May I say something?” or “Is it my turn yet?” And, says her mother, Elaine Wong, “She tells everyone that no elbows are allowed on the table!”