Table Etiquette: Lesson for Kids

Instructor: Angela Burke

Angela has over ten years of teaching experience in Special Education, classroom teaching and GT. She has a master's degree in Special Ed with an emphasis in Gifted.

Do you know what proper table etiquette is? This lesson will teach you how to show good table manners. Demonstrating an understanding of table etiquette is an important life skill.

Victorian Etiquette

Etiquette is the expected rules of polite behavior in a society, and table etiquette is the rules that tell you how to behave at the dinner table. A long time ago, during the Victorian Era of the late 1800s, table etiquette was taken very seriously. Children during this time couldn't make the slightest sound while eating or drinking. They had to learn how to hold a fork and knife properly. They were expected to eat slowly.

Table etiquette has changed over the years, but showing respect while eating is still important. Let's find out what table etiquette looks like in today's age.

Manners Please

Not every meal is a formal dining experience. Families are busy and it isn't always easy for everyone to sit at the table and eat together every night. However, knowing a few basic table manners is really important when eating out at a restaurant, when dining as a guest at a friend's house, or when having a special meal at home with your family. Manners are polite behaviors that show kindness and respect for others.

Family Eating at the Table

To begin, what if you don't like the food you've been served? Should you say how terrible it tastes? That would probably be a bad idea. Politely refusing a certain dish is fine, but remember to be appreciative to the person who made the food. They spent a lot of time making it for you. Remember to say please and thank you, and it never hurts to offer to clean up.

Burping and Slurping

Did you know that in Japan, slurping your noodles is a polite way of saying the food is good? And in parts of China, burping shows that a person enjoyed their meal. Different cultures have different table etiquette. A culture consists of the attitudes, customs and beliefs of a group of people.

In America, you will probably get scolded if you burp or slurp your food. It may sound nearly impossible to make no noise while eating, but it is important to chew food with your mouth closed. One way to make this easier is to never stuff your mouth full of food. Watching someone eat with their mouth open can gross some people out. Eating slowly is always a good plan.

Slurping may be considered bad manners depending on where you live.

Likewise, chatting with people at your table is often a fun part of the meal, but talking with your mouth full of food is not a good idea. Make sure you've swallowed your food before speaking.

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