Blog,  Parenting

Table Manners

Table Manners is an ongoing process and something PC and I believe important. Growing up I remember my father being emphatic that boys should not turn up to the table bare chested and your chair must remain on four legs, my mother was emphatic that each meal was worthy of a tablecloth, PC’s mother is emphatic as to what is regarded as ‘polite table talk’. These habits are ingrained in PC and I, and in turn we have passed these on, but we still have other areas to cultivate.

Table manners add or detract to the atmosphere of a meal. Whether it is your own child or a visiting child, behaviour at the table can’t help but be noticable.

It appears that Jelly Bean feels rather strongly about table manners too as she has been begging me to hang a ‘manners chart’ on the wall. To this end I have been searching for one, I found a list but after discussion with some of my favourite people, I decided to adjust the list as I realised that each family have their own unique areas that need cultivating.

I share with your our list, please feel free to take it and adjust to suit your own unique needs.
I’d also like to draw your attention to a fascinating good manners chart which covers far more than just table manners. The ‘Good Manners’ chart was first issued to Queensland schools in 1898 by the Department of Public Instruction as part of the systematic teaching of conduct and manners. The chart was based on rules formulated by the Children’s National Guild of Courtesy which had been founded in UK elementary schools in 1889.

Table Manners

Wash your hands and face before sitting down.

Come to the table when called.

No books at the table.

Sit up straight, knees down and forward facing to the table. Sit on your bottom.

Wait until everyone is seated and served before beginning Grace.

Wait until Grace is said before beginning eating. Do not interrupt during Grace.

Don’t interrupt conversations; wait your turn to talk.

Only engage in ‘polite table talk.’

Look after other people; do not help yourself only.

Ask politely for dishes to be passed. Never reach across the table.

Do not be greedy.

Keep your elbows off table.

Turn your head away from table and cover your mouth to sneeze or cough.

Wipe your hands on your napkin, not your shirt or tablecloth,

Never chew with your mouth open.

Never talk with a mouth full of food.

Use utensils quietly without banging them on the table or plate.

Use a bread and butter plate for your bread.

Do not eat off your knife.

Ask to be excused from the table before you leave.

Thank your hostess for the meal, thank all for their company.

Clear your plate from the table and take it into the kitchen.

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  • Sarah

    Hi Erin, I really love your blog and I read it regularly. This is a late comment, but I'd like to ask your reason for having the 'no elbows on the table' rule? I actually agree with it, but what reason do you give to your kids?
    Thanks Erin! Sarah

  • Erin

    Welcome:) Well I'm afraid we don't give them any great reason, blush, just that it's rude, you look like you are crowding your plate and not part of the whole table.

  • alecat

    Ahhh .. you're list is reminiscent of my childhood days. I think it's because I'm also from a large family, so I'd heard those same instructions issued out many, MANY times at home.

    As I was reading through, I was saying to myself 'elbows off the table!' … then there it was on your list!

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