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Basic Restaurant Manners for Kids

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Teaching Basic Restaurant Manners for Kids

We always find our family eating in Bacolod restaurants or eating out whenever we travel. Our work gets us invited to events and a lot of times, we have to bring the kids because we don’t have a babysitter.

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In our modern times where we often find ourselves eating out with family and friends, our little kids should be taught some basic restaurant manners so that we can all enjoy our outing. Here Joaene, Zander, Michaela, Nikki, and CeeKeh try to follow the instructions.

Whenever we eat out, it can be a struggle for us to get the kids to stay still. But thankfully, it’s not because the girls lack the basic restaurant manners for kids. It’s usually just that they easily get bored. Since we do not allow them to be distracted by gadgets, we have to keep them occupied.

Basic Restaurant Manners for Kids

We have seen many young kids getting unruly in restaurants. Meanwhile, we see neat children eating but it’s because their babysitters are feeding them. Or, the more common scene is that kids are very quiet because they are focused on their gadgets.

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Learning about what the utensils are and how to use them is part of basic restaurant manners for kids. Zander is so cute here!

At the age of 5, the children have already developed some fine motor skills. By this time, they can normally able to handle their utensils. So that means, we can effectively teach them (or even earlier). We can teach them to eat by themselves so that we can also enjoy our family meals outside the home. Then, we can solve their boredom with activities after they are done eating. hehe

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“This is yummy!” ~Sean. Here with Gia, Nona, and Arleih.

This is just a temporary phase and they will grow out of it. They won’t be perfect– Shane certainly isn’t. But it’s no excuse to trouble others with our kids’ antics when we can help it just by teaching them. Sometimes, embarrassing situations are unavoidable. However sometimes, it’s also lack of parental concern or involvement.

Fine Dining Activity

In relation to this, Bright Kids Preschool held a fine dining activity for their students. It wasn’t really “fine” dining, but more like teaching them basic restaurant manners for kids. The event was held at the GT Hotel here in Bacolod and was participated in by the Kinder classes.

Teacher Sheryll Ong, directress of Bright Kids Preschool, led the activity. She taught the kids how to behave and what to do when dining in restaurants.

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Teacher Sheryll Ong, directress of Bright Kids Preschool, led the activity.

The kids were told about the basic items on the table and how to use them–from the napkin to the utensils. They were also taught how to pour water from the pitcher.

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Their food –this came with mushroom soup.

The Food

They were served with plated dishes from soup to fried chicken, spaghetti, burger steak, and rice. For dessert, they had a mini cupcake. Don’t complain about the nutritional value of foods–these were chosen based on what is commonly liked by the kids.

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Sometimes, they also needed assistance, like in the use of the knife. And the teachers were ready to help. From left: AJ, Shane, and Liam.

It was nice to see the kids eating by themselves. Oh well, they needed some guidance from the teachers with the handling of the knife. They are still in kinder school after all. But otherwise, they were quite fine.

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Skye, AJ, Shane, and Liam eating by themselves.

Exposure Activity

Exposure activities like these are very nice because they are designed to help the children in real-world situations. Of course, it entails additional fees, but it’s only minimal. Not only was it fun for the kids to go out with their classmates, it’s teaching them life skills as well.

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The kids had fun eating out with their classmates–Sean, Gia, Nona, and Arleih.

Because I had to cover the event for this mommy blog, I had the opportunity to witness the kids. The teachers were able to settle them down systematically and orderly (but nicely) on their seats. They were noisy at first, but they quieted down and the lecture soon started. Some of the things that were taught to them were how to sit properly and the correct posture.

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The Kinder B students of Bright Kids Preschool who joined in the fine dining activity at GT Hotel.

Teacher Sheryll showed them all the stuff in front of them, how they are used, and then they started eating away. They were also taught the polite way of ending the meal.

Top 10 Restaurant Manners for Kids

Here are some top 10 restaurant manners for kids. However, I think that a lot of grown ups can also learn from these.

  1. Sit properly on your chair and observe correct posture. Place your napkin on your lap.
  2. Turn off or keep your mobile phone/gadget.
  3. Wait for everyone to be served before eating.
  4. Use a knife and fork to cut meat.
  5. Cut your food one piece at a time.
  6. Chew your food with your mouth closed and without making noise.
  7. Don’t reach across the table. Politely ask somebody to pass what you need.
  8. Don’t talk when your mouth is full.
  9. Don’t pick your teeth at the table.
  10. Say “excuse me” when leaving the table.
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Ethan, Rohi, Louise, and KD wait for their food.

Formal Dining Table Setup

In a fine dining setup, you will be face to face with a lot of silver ware and china in front of you. For most of us who live a fast-paced life, we no longer have time for such niceties. However, we will encounter these during formal gatherings, so it is best to be familiar with these and know how to use them.

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The more common fine dining setup. Illustration from diendanlamdepvn.com.

If you are really in doubt on what to do, don’t rush into eating (even if your tummy is already making weird noises). Instead, wait until everybody is seated and settled. Inconspicuously observe what others are doing. You will not make a mistake if you will take things slowly and carefully. Rushing will just make you nervous all the more and get you into embarrassing situations.

Since we are on the homeschooling path, we are keen on teaching kids life skills. We like these kinds of activities very much. 🙂


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21 thoughts on “Basic Restaurant Manners for Kids

  1. This is really nice. I am a bit skeptical about the method of enforcing it on the kids. If the kid feels comfortable to use his/her hands they should go for that. I remember my cousins kid starting a tantrum when he was asked to use the spoon to have the meal at a restaurant. But all this being said its a good habit to inculcate at a young age.

    1. That’s a good point you raised there, Nathan. But it is not like enforcing these rules to the kids or punishing them when they make a mistake. But yes, they are kids and they need the guidance of parents, which is the reason why we are here. hehe So we try. We may not be perfect but it’s not because of lack of trying. 😀

  2. We used to do the same thing when I was teaching in Indonesia. We would bring the kids in a hotel and teach them basic table manners. I hope that this continues on because most kids seem to be losing the basic table manners and are becoming more engaged in their gadgets.

  3. I have made it a point to teach my children how to act in public. Not just by doing activities like this, but by teaching them regular manners in every day life.

    1. Oh thank you for another concerned parent. What irks me as a mom is other parents who seem to be oblivious even when their kids are already disturbing others. 🙁

  4. You are sharing a very valuable points here, and i think parents must learn these. It isn’t an excuse that kids do unpleasant behavior coz they are just kids – it is the parents’ responsibility to teach and mold them the right way.

  5. This is a really helpful article indeed. Teaching kids basic table manners from an early age is really beneficial and just good parenting in my opinion.

  6. What a great article! You’re absolutely right – manners must be taught from an early age. There’s nothing more miserable than going to a restaurant with unruly/obnoxious kids. No matter how good they are, we still leave by 8pm!

  7. Wow this is such an amazing activity for kids to learn proper etiquettes. More schools need to be developing similar programs. Would definitely help give them more guidance when they’re out at restaurants.

  8. Teaching kids about the manners of eating are much needed. Study is important but these types of learning activities are also important for kids. If kids learn these basic manners at the very early stage, they remember them throughout their life. Great post.

  9. Teaching these kids these simple manners is so very important. They can learn from this as they would for other situations as well of how to act in a crowd.

  10. This post should be read by ALL Italian parents, since in my opinion good manners at table are quite unknown by local kids. By the way most of times the problem are the parents: you can’t ask a little boy/girl to stay still like an adult while true adults are talking about politics, car insurances and bills to pay! In order to make them be good you have to involve them in the conversation.

  11. Interesting article. May I suggest that maybe the source of the problem is that at home we let them do what they when it’s diner time? I mean, let’s be honest. If they respect the diner time with some rules why they would not respect them in a restaurant?

  12. We have definitely taught the kids some basic restaurant manners. No one wants to be that family that is out that everyone is staring at wondering where their home training is LOL

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