Can we talk about kids' table manners for a minute? I feel like half of us are doing our job as parents, and half of us are all, "Table, what table?" I think we've all hosted the dinner guest from hell -- and we've wondered if he's being raised by orangutans. There's a lot of rude kids out there.
Hey, I'm not parent-shaming. Families nowadays are so stressed and busy, it's hard to get the family to sit down together around the table for a meal on the regular. But it's one of the most important ways we teach our kids to be civilized.
It's hard work, too. I swear, it's taken me YEARS to get my son to stop wiping his face on his sleeve and use his napkin. This stuff does not come naturally for most kids -- but for the future of humanity, it needs to happen. Here are 13 things every young dinner guest needs to learn.
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At the very least, kids should learn the following:
- Chew with your mouth closed.
- Don't talk with food in your mouth.
- Wipe your face and hands on your napkin, not your sleeve or your neighbor's sleeve.
- Take at least one bite of everything you're given before you decide you don't like it.
- Say "no thank you" calmly if you don't want to eat something you've tried and did not like.
- Ask people to please pass you the butter, salt, etc. Don't just reach across the table.
- No yelling or fighting at the table. For the love of all that is holy, do not make other people cry.
- Remain seated through the duration of the meal unless you REALLY have to pee.
- Keep your hands to yourself.
- Keep your feet below the table and DO NOT under any circumstances touch your feet during the meal.
- Never, ever blow your nose at the table. If you sneeze or cough, turn to the side and do it in the crook of your elbow.
- Don't talk about gross stuff at the table. You know what we mean.
- Don't belch loudly or make the kinds of body noises parents don't like to hear. You know what we mean.
More from The Stir: 6 Rude Things Moms Let Their Kids Do (Tsk Tsk)
Bonus advanced table skills:
- Don't make that face like the food we've served you is literally killing you with its death rays.
- Keep your napkin in your lap.
- Keep your elbows off the table.
- If you finish eating before everyone else is finished, just sit quietly or ask to be excused.
- Don't mash up your food or otherwise treat it as an art project.
- Try to make interesting mealtime conversation.
- Thank your host for the meal at the end.
MAYBE by the time my son graduates from high school, he will have a handle on these. I'm trying my hardest.
What else do you think goes on these lists?
Image via Michael Newton/Flickr