Raising Good Diners

As parents it is our responsibility to teach our children how to conduct themselves in social settings, and teaching them good table manners, in my opinion, is an absolute essential.


Now, good table manners are not about using the right fork. That is etiquette, and I am no expert in that department, and etiquette also varies from place to place. For example, in some places and situations, eating with your hands is a big no-no, but in other places it may be the norm. Good table manners are about mindfulness. Mindfulness of those dining with you. It is essential that we teach our kids to be good dining mates, and not have others cringe while they dine with them.

Always remember though, that children learn best from watching us, so don’t just prompt them or tell them, show them how to behave at the dinner table.

Here are some basic table manners that I believe children should be taught:

    • Offer food to others before you start serving your own self.
    • Never play or fiddle with the crockery or silverware.
    • If there’s a napkin, lay it on your lap. It isn’t supposed to sit there.
    • Wait to be asked to start eating, or at least wait till everyone is seated, depending on the situation.
    • Always let your elders go first.
    • Don’t extend your arm over the table to reach out for food. Ask someone to pass it to you.
    • Avoid letting your food drop onto the table while serving yourself.
    • Take little portions. Don’t fill your plate with too much. You can always take seconds.
    • Don’t chew with your mouth open- no one needs to hear your chewing.
    • Don’t talk with your mouth full. Anything that needs to be said can wait till you finish that bite.
    • If it seems like the food’s running out or might not be enough, take little.
    • Never burp out loud in front of others. It can make a meal very unappetizing for others.
    • Don’t stare at others’ plates while they eat.
    • Don’t take food from someone else’s plate unless they offer you some to try.
    • Pause between bites. It isn’t a contest.
    • Don’t get up till everyone’s finished eating.
    • Clear your plate when you’re done if you’re dining at someone’s home, and clean up anything you may have dropped out of your plate.
    • Never say anything bad about the food. If you don’t like it, just keep quiet and don’t eat it.
    • If the food tastes good, always tell the cook. It is very encouraging.

What do you think are some important dinner table manners to teach children?

23 thoughts on “Raising Good Diners

  1. Staring others or their plate way too much while they eat, makes them little uncomfortable as well.

  2. Such a good list of manners to learn if only it was as easy to teach it to the kids 🙈 I’m not a mom but my younger sister does the same annoying things all day every day despite my constant telling. 😔 May god bless all moms Hats off to you guys

  3. That is a very thorough list! I thinking very important not to complain if you don’t like the food but try telling my children that!!! One in particular complains before shes even tried it. #MuslimahBloggers

  4. Growing up I have always watched my mum be the perfect host over family dinners and parties. She always goes above and beyond with her presentation, her food and the number of dishes she offers to her guests. I feel like watching her do this all my life has embedded this into my mannerism & I feel I am not meeting the standards she has set for me if I am not following her mannerisms when hosting. We were told to behave and and not make a show of ourselves and this has always stuck with me.


  5. Agree that teaching manners is via showing them by doing it ourselves….Sometimes though they can pick up bad habits from other children when you visit, or at groups and at school.

  6. The difference in table manners and etiquette has always evaded me. Mentioning the variation in different cultures is quite important as well. In Saudi, eating rice with your hands is fine, but in my home country people would probably gawk. The way you discussed mindfulness made it universal. Lovely <3

  7. Great list! The earlier we teach our children manners, the quicker they will develop these habits! Not saying anything negative about the food in front of them is an important lesson!

  8. Thanks for sharing it…It was what I was thinking to write about..Now going to share ir…1 thing if I’m right is that start to serve from and Pass from right hand

  9. I agree with all your points. I specially like taht don’t play with the crockery/ silverware. Also, praising the cook is good. It just boosts the cook up;)

  10. Some very important manners. My rules are very simple. Clean the plate, take small portions and always share the food and not hoard.

  11. This is superb Sidra! Loved the way you have explained the whole thing. Specially your point ‘don’t tell them, show them’. Kids learn what they see practically.

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