The Revival of Common Courtesy ~ Mealtime Manners

This sounds like it should be a short topic right?   WRONG!
“We shouldn’t save our best manners for the outside world anyway-
surely the people with whom we live deserve our best efforts!
~Emily Post
Mealtime manners can help you in so many facets of your life. When I think of mealtime manners, I actually laugh out loud as I recall the scene from Pretty Woman where Julia Roberts needs to learn what all that cutlery is for. Now we don’t need all that cutlery for everyday meals, but we do need to know what it is for and when to use it as well as a plethora of other manners.

The family dinner is the opportunity for children to learn the basics of good manners and not only their table manners, but the importance of courtesy toward one another as well as how to carry on a polite conversation.

Many of you can remember your own mother telling you to chew with your mouth closed, not talk with your mouth full, use your napkin, don’t teeter on your chair, sit up straight , don’t put you elbows on the table, etc…

Your napkin should be place in your lap as soon as you are seated unless it is a formal event and then you take your cue from the hostess. Do not tuck it into your collar, shirt, belt, etc… The napkin is supposed to be placed to the left side of your setting if your leave the table. At a dinner party the hostess will place her napkin on the table to signal that the meal is over.

It is appropriate to reach for anything within your ‘simple’ reach, but not if your reach extends over your neighbor or the other side of the table. ‘Would you please pass’ is the best phrase to use for whatever you need.

As for the cutlery – The rule is always the same, use the implement for each course that is furthest from the plate. The only time this is not the case is if the table is incorrectly set.

Many families have resorted to “do it yourself” dinners and/or eating on the run or in front of the television ~ This is Unfortunate! How will your children learn if this is allowed? When my niece was here, I asked her to set the table one night I was distraught at what I saw when she was finished. Our kitchens are classrooms for the family and setting our children off on the right foot through life.


How do you bring your family to the dining room table for a family meal?

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *