Teaching Table Manners to Kids – Tips for Toddlers and Preschoolers

Teaching table manners to kids is one of the most important aspects of disciplining your children. You don’t want your kid to behave inappropriately while eating food and you expect them to be disciplined when you take them for dinner in any social event. This is why in this post we will be discussing some methods that you can use to teach the table manners to your kids.

The lessons about how to conduct oneself around the dining table must begin at an early age because it will get harder for you to discipline your children as they are growing up.

Toddlers, Preschoolers, and Big Kids

Teaching the basic lessons to toddlers is a quite difficult task because at this point they are not capable of understanding your words but all your efforts will be fruitful with time as their brain gets trained to follow the rules since you have been making them familiar with it from a long time.

A preschooler is capable of understanding your words but they might show a lot of resistance to following your commands due to their young age where they want to do what they want without anyone’s supervision. All you can do here is to use various methods to discipline them and find out what works the best. You can get some good ideas from our post named “Easy Methods to Handle Baby Tantrums“.

Till a certain age you should restrain from using any stringent methods to teaching good manners to your kids, but when they are big enough to understand that they are doing the right or wrong things, you should be using healthy ways to teach your kid for right lessons.

So here are some methods that you can use to teach the table manners to your kids:-


A fixed time to have the meal is not only healthy for your kid but it also stimulates them to learn the necessary lessons on how to be disciplined. By making them take food at the right time from an early age, you will not have to worry about their refusals to eat food as they are growing up. Fixing a proper time will also motivate them to follow the table rules properly because they will become familiar with the activity.

The Table Rules

There are some table rules that you should make your kid familiar with before it gets too late to make them understand it. These rules are an important part of table manners like asking to pass rather than reaching out to something, being polite and use “thank you” and “please” wherever necessary, cleaning the hand and maintaining the hygiene, putting the napkin on the lap and using it to wipe the mouth, waiting till the food is served, eating with closed mouth, etc.

Ignoring the Misbehavior

Most parents get very upset over their children’s actions when they are causing a lot of trouble while having food. Small kids will not understand or listen to you if you yell at them because they are getting what they want that is “your attention”.

Children throw tantrums and behave inappropriately to get your attention, so many times ignoring your kid during such times can work better than any other method.


Considering the fact that children love to get your attention, you should focus on using this as an opportunity to encourage good behavior in them.

Give your kid the necessary appreciation when they follow the table rules properly, also give them rewards when they act in a disciplined manner while having their food. They will not use tantrums to get your attention if you will give it to them for their good behavior.

Be with Them

Your presence at the table when your kid is having their food is very important. This gives you an opportunity to teach them various things on how to behave while having food.

Make sure to be present with them during these times as much as possible because a child needs constant reminders and repetition of lessons.

Playing Games

Playing games is the best way to teach your kid any particular skill. To teach them the table manners you can use pretend play games with them by making them imagine that they are at some social event or at someone’s house to have the dinner.

Kids find it more interesting to play the imagination game than the real-life scenario itself, so it gives you an excellent opportunity to make them practice the rules so that they don’t miss on anything later. These types of games can also help them with their brain development.

Be a Good Example

As we always say kids learn most of their lessons by watching you. It does not matter what you teach them, if you don’t follow the rules yourself, they are never going to listen to you.

Behave as you want your kid to behave while having their food. If you do not focus on the food and prefer to watch TV or use your mobile phone while having your food, then you cannot expect your kid to not do something that they find interesting while having their food.

The key to making your kid listen to you and disciplining them is to establish a strong connection with them, so we highly recommend you to try out the product “Talking to Toddlers” which teaches how to deal with the terrible twos and gives some effective methods to make a child disciplined.

Here’s a video that you can make your kids watch so that they could learn how to conduct themselves around dinning table:-


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