Babies can act like cavemen at the dinner table and be perfect savages even at their own birthday party. They will do it when they are angry; they do it to show their love. Reasons aside, teaching them proper table manners will be the first step towards the lifelong discipline and etiquette that should sooner—not later—be second nature to your child. Remember, the more disciplined and consistent you are, the more disciplined and consistent your child will be. Breaking the rules from time to time may only serve to confuse your child.
Here are some basic table rules you also need to follow. Children can only learn by example:
- Make sure meals are quiet—no lecturing at the table.
- No arguments and raised voices.
- No playing with food. Gently but firmly discourage your baby from throwing food around at the table.
- Use gentle and clear words such as ‘please’ and ‘thank you’ to ask for anything desired.
- Offer babies small portions at regular intervals and show appreciation when they ‘clean’ their plates.
- Familiarize your baby with eating with forks and spoons. The best way to do this is to let your child see you using them.
At the Restaurant
- Order your child’s food first to prevent long waits. This will prevent your child from becoming bored or impatient.
- Make sure your baby is well rested and hungry when you arrive at the table.
- Don’t reprimand your child in public.
- Take your baby for a short stroll if you notice any signs of crankiness.