When is the Best Time to Teach Table Manners?


The best time to teach table manners is before they ever sit at the table. Breastfeeding moms have often noticed that their young babies need stimulation while breastfeeding. The babies are likely to indicate this by pulling or biting at the breast or yanking on moms’ hair. Moms who bottle-feed report the same type of thing and the baby getting so excited they knock the bottle away.

Therefore, “table manners” are taught at an early age and typically involve redirecting their attention to other things, including toys, a breastfeeding necklace and even artwork. Some moms have even been forced to put the baby down, mid-feeding, as a way of reminding them not to pinch, pull, grab, bite or inflict any pain.

Okay, We Got Through That, What Now?

As soon as a baby sits in a highchair for the first, it can seem as if a whole new world has opened up for them. This whole new world involves gravity and dropping things from the highchair to the floor can seem like the most fun thing they could do. It can also be fun to rip off a bib, dip their fingers in the baby food and for some creative babies, rocking back and forth in the high chair.

Obviously, none of these are good ideas and the behavior can be easily reinforced, if it is ignored or not stopped quickly. A firm no may help, but generations of mothers have simply removed the child from the high chair. The basic concept happy wheels is that when the baby throws food, they must be done eating. Eventually, they will grasp the concept and they will stop doing the offensive task.

Dropping items from the highchair is actually an important act. It not only teaches them when something drops, it stays there, but it can also help reinforce the concept that just because something cannot be seen at that moment, does not mean that it has disappeared entirely.

However, the game of Dropsy does get old and it might be a better idea to teach your child about gravity and disappearing items from another location, so that he or she does not begin to think that they are acceptable games from the highchair. Many moms who have picked up the same toy 50 times from the floor will agree with this statement.

Older Kids

Older kids should be reminded of their table manners as often as possible. Remember that kids only learn how to behave in public or at the table when they spend time there. They are also likely to imitate what they see, so if you are polite and practice good table manners, you child is much more likely to do so.

Every child is different and the way they learn will be different as well. Part of being a good parent is repeating the actions you want them to have and eventually, they will make you proud of their table manners. 

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About Author

Victoria Stevens

I am a passionate writer, researcher and a full time mother of 3 very active children. I am constantly looking for new information and solutions to every day challenges and problems. My children keep me busy at home, my husband supports me with everything that I do and my work extremely demanding. I find that when I write about solutions to everyday problems, I feel better knowing that I may have helped someone else in my position, if not now may be in the future. I enjoy being associated with Mom Exclusive as a contributor and columnist and I do hope all other moms will find my work interesting and useful. Drop me a line if you would like to discuss anything.

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