Toddlers and learning etiquette are not synonyms words. It takes a lot of patience to let your toddlers eat well on time. They run around, they throw tantrums and delights in making a mess.
Toddlers need constant reminding of what you expect from them and what consequences will be like if they don’t follow the rules. When your child throws food on the floor and put one piece of chicken on her highchair tray. If this gets attention, they do it almost every time. And they keep doing it. One shouldn’t tolerate such kind of bad behaviour and teach them some learning etiquette. Some toddlers are picky-eaters, slow-eaters and attention seekers. Write it down or draw pictures to let them obey the rules. They should be reminded of the rules every time they come to the table. Whether it is the usage of napkin or fork; remind the rules. Also, thank them if they use proper manners.
Practice, practice and practice
Practice the art of conversation and active listening will let you avoid the one-word answers and confused faces. Ask them questions whose answer is not yes or no, but like what you learnt in art class today? Guidance is necessary by parents.
If you are worried that they pick up bad habits from the mealtime kids; you’re right they do learn from them. But parents have powers too. When you send polite, well-mannered children out into the world, the odds are that they will remain the same.
Set an example
If you want to see your children emulating you in good dining habits, then model good social behaviour. You should also eat your veggies, so your children shouldn’t avoid them.
Do let kids choose from what’s there on a table
Do not make them a different meal. Let them try from the given meal which completes their nutrients’ needs. You are not a cook. Make a decision beforehand about what you’ll cook and go for it. If your child isn’t eating all, then don’t make an effort of preparing a meal again. Not only this will pamper him if you do make a meal; rather you’re inculcating a bad habit in him.
Try pairing new foods
Offer a variety of colours and textures, especially with fruits and vegetables. Let them eat green veggies and complete the need for vitamins and minerals. Also, let kids choose what vegetable to cook for dinner. In this way, they will feel a sense of pride as they helped in preparing the vegetable. They will devour it too. Parenting and socialization are necessary.
Take a balanced approach by encouraging healthier options and smaller portions of the desserts like ice cream. Don’t woo them to finish dinner in order to get dessert. See if your child is obese, he doesn’t overeat foods which are forbidden. For example- don’t go for ice cream rather go for frozen yoghurt with dark chocolate than sprinkles and whipped cream. Try including healthy treats which are good for the health of your beloved child. Also, take advice from child specialist regarding what is included in the healthy plate or what not. Other matters to be consulted by the child specialist.
Teaching them good table manners/learning etiquette is an important part of every meal. And your children due to this habit will become good dinner companions in the years to come.
- Come to the table with hands and face clean: not only has this respected the person who made the meal. Rather it is a good health hygiene habit.
- Grown-ups should help in the preparation of the meal
- If the host puts her napkin on her lap, the signal for you is to put your napkin on yours.
- Say to your child never to begin eating until everyone at the table is seated and served.
- Never chew with your mouth open
- Don’t stuff your mouth
- Don’t interrupt anyone when one is talking
- Pushchair when finished with food
- Pick up your plate and say thank you- this is a very good habit when you are done with your food.
These good manners are not inculcated overnight but it is a matter of years. You will surely get something in return when you come in contact with other people who see your eating habits.