Learning table manners may take some time so don't get discouraged. Sometimes children act like pigs at home, but behave perfectly when they are guests in other people's homes. So they are hearing you at some level.
- Don't nag your children about it. This is bound to have the opposite effect. They will take a perverse pleasure in annoying you by slurping their milk noisily or coming to the table with unwashed hands.
- What you can do is praise them for displaying good manners like passing a dish to a guest or saying "please" and "thank you."
- Don't make mealtimes into a battleground and constantly pick on your children about all the things that they are doing wrong. This is a surefire way of killing the appetite, both yours and theirs. In addition, it's not going to make them any more interested in becoming part of polite society.
- Set an example yourself. Don't read the morning paper while eating your breakfast if you don't want your child to come to every meal with his favourite comic book.
- Don't get into the habit of telling your child that he is a "pig" or a "slob" every time he doesn't do things the 'propah' way. If you're going to label him like that, he's not going to see any point in trying to improve because he will think it 's in his nature to be a "pig."
- Give your child a break and tell him that he can make a pig of himself when he is alone because he then he won't be offending anyone. So he doesn't have to dab at his face with a napkin if he's alone and has ketchup all over his face.
- When entertaining at home, involve your children in serving the starters or setting the table so that they can see for themselves the workings of polite society. You can also try taking them to a 'real' restaurant once in a while because table manners are hardly an issue at your local McDonald's. Make it an occasion so that they would like to live up to it.
- Do not encourage burping competitions that your child may start with his friends at the table. Make it clear that you find it rude and offensive and definitely not funny.
It may take some time so don't get discouraged. Sometimes children act like pigs at home, but behave perfectly when they are guests in other people's homes. So they are hearing you at some level.
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