By Misbah 

Imagine being in an official meeting where things went flawlessly and now you have to celebrate the success of the meeting with the team over a meal together, a dinner in a nice restaurant. And it would be a nightmare if you do not know how to eat over a table! Fork in right and spoon in left? What’s the polite way of asking for more food? Am I doing it right? And so many questions and thoughts would be rushing through my mind. One of them would be feeling terrible for not acquiring the table manners before landing oneself in that situation!

I had a hard time imagining myself and I suggest everyone start training their small children in these manners as soon as possible. As they say, The sooner the better. The best day care schools in Gurgaon have been stressing on these table manners since a small age so that the learners reach an age where they can to eat independently without supervision.

Here are a few tips to get started with:

1. Model the behavior you want to see: Children are mostly visual learners, they will imitate what they see. So the best way to teach them is to model the correct etiquette for them. This means no texting, no playing with your food, and using your tableware properly.

2. Please and thank you: Encourage your child to use please and thank you when asking for things or when being served. This will also teach them to be polite to people serving food in restaurants like waiters etc

3. Chewing etiquettes: Teach your child to chew with their mouth closed and to not talk with food in their mouth. Explain to them why it is important to chew with their mouth closed and how the food in our mouth can choke us if we speak.

4. Sitting position: Encourage your child to keep their elbows off the table. This will help them in maintaining the correct posture while eating and to hold the cutlery without dropping it on the floor.

5. Knowing boundaries: Help your child to understand the importance of not reaching for things that are not theirs. This will encourage them to respect the boundaries in real life too. They will know when and what they can ask for and where the boundaries are to be drawn.

6. Excuse me: Finally, teach your child to always say “excuse me” if they need to leave the table.

I believe teaching the one who doesn’t know is easier than correcting the one who knows it in a wrong way. It is easier to learn a new habit than to unlearn an old/wrong habit. In earlier times this kind of education was not taken up in the school but many good schools make it a part of the necessary lessons There are some progressive CBSE schools in Gurgaon that have been introducing this kind of informal education from the nursery itself. It can be immensely helpful to shape the child’s personality.