Manners Meals

The purpose of these conversation ideas is to explore the rituals of serving a meal and dining in a more formal setting. They will experience how care and rituals make a difference. And, surely, a day will come when you will give their hand a quick squeeze or give a special wink because, unexpectedly, the game is on.

  • Playing with a tea set or picnic set can be an easy way to introduce the rituals around preparing a table for a meal. If you don’t have a play set, you can cut out cardboard shapes they can play/practice with.
  • Try setting a play table (or real one) with one side set with a random stack of dishes and silverware all in a pile – and a second setting set up carefully.
    • Does it make a difference to you? Does one setting make you feel more special than the other?
    • By setting the table the same way each time, you always can see that everything is there – and it is even easier for diners to find what they need.
  • Part of the ritual is for all to begin together. Eating together is a very special time. You can make sure you pass food so everyone is taken care of.
  • Discuss other table manners and why they are important.
  • Plan a special meal – and well in advance – get your child’s help in planning the table setting.
  • Make their efforts special by having some cut flowers they can use.
  • Begin the meal with a thank you. Encourage them to talk about how they decided to do things the way they did.
  • Practice best manners – as posh as you can be.