Yesterday, my husband Clay and I had lunch at a local diner with the kids and grandkids. Much of the time both the grandkids played with their games on their computer tablet but there was some conversation. I mentioned to my daughter-in-law, Caroline that last summer the kids were big on manners at the table. Things like:

  • Don’t put your elbows on the table when eating!
  • Don’t talk with food in your mouth!
  • Chew with your mouth closed!            
  • Don’t eat until everyone else is served!

But now that the summer is over, everything returned to “normal” and table manners has never come up again.

Caroline said that they were learning manners because the group was going out to a restaurant to eat and the counselors wanted to make sure that the kids learned the basic rules of eating out.

What a good idea. But it only good if we parents and grandparents remind our kids what good manners is all about.  

Do we share the basics like how to properly use a fork and knife? Put a napkin in your lap? Eat small portions so that our mouth isn’t stuffed?

My grandmother use to take my brother and I out…separately. She took me to The Plaza on 5th Avenue in Manhattan where we had tea and small sandwiches. We went to Bergdorf Goodman’s and enjoy a drink and something small to eat while fashion models walked around the tables with the latest clothes. We never brought anything but my grandmother showed me how to act like a “lady.”

For my brother it was a different story. He went out with my mom, aunt AND my grandmother. He had to hold the door for them, pull out the chairs at the table and make sure he used the right fork, spoon an knife with each course. He definitely got a workout.

Although we have become a very informal society where women no longer wear white gloves and hats, etiquette and manners still make a difference. Take advantage of small teachable moments like waiting until you have your food and are sitting down before the rest of the family eats. It is something they can carry forward as they grow up.

Hope you have a eitquettely happy day

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