Mind Your Manners: Teaching Your Toddler to Behave on the Table

Topics: Etiquette, Childhood, Social graces Pages: 2 (540 words) Published: June 29, 2011
Toddlers are playful individuals, and their playfulness is often brought to the dining table. Utensils flying around, juices spilled on the floor and morsels of food crushed in your toddler’s fist are normal scenarios that accompany a child’s journey at the table. Eating in public becomes a major concern as parents dread the time when their toddlers would fling food to another table. It is tempting to admonish a child or to make him sit on his time-out chair for showing such behavior. But a parent needs to understand that toddler manners are taught and learned. Here are some ways on how you can make mealtimes less frenzied for you and your toddler: •Set an example. Parents get this advice so often that it loses its significance over time. But children mimic whatever their parents are doing. Refrain from standing up from the table to answer the phone or to get something from the kitchen. Otherwise, you’ll be sending a message to your toddler saying that it’s alright to get up from the table and return whenever he feels like it. •Ignore the behavior. It may sound counterintuitive, but paying no attention to your child’s messy conduct while eating may actually prevent future dining dilemmas from happening. While you may be naturally aghast after seeing your toddler knock off his cereal bowl from his high chair, keep in mind that children this age are just beginning to know cause and effect. They delight in seeing what kind of response their actions will solicit from you. Toddlers will always try to get their parents’ attention, whether it may be good or bad. It’s best not to show interest at all and let the occasion pass for now until you can teach your child table etiquette. •Give your toddler utensils. Toddlers use their hands to grab food from the table because of their limited motor skills. Give your child utensils to use every time he eats. He won’t be able to use them properly yet, but utensils can provide a good distraction for your toddler. These will...
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