Friday, May 21, 2010

Setting the Table

A while ago, I talked about some things that are important to me when my children are talking with others. It's also important for children to know how to act at home, in a restaurant, or as a guest in a friend's home. The minnies have always gone everywhere with me and are comfortable eating in any restaurant.

Some parents shy away from "nice" restaurants when they are with their children, but I firmly believe that once children know what to expect and what the parents' expectations are, they will behave beautifully in any situation.

One thing that will boost a child's confidence in him or herself is to have an important job at home. Children love to help. Even at a very young age, they can help to set the table. After a few weeks of practice with this delightful placemat, your little ones will be pros at setting the table. They'll never wonder where the fork should go. It will be automatic.

When I was a little girl, I used to love to read the Goofus and Gallant cartoons in the Highlights magazine. I'd often poke fun at the cartoons, dramatically acting like the characters, but the lessons are timeless and help to promote good manners.

This placemat has good and bad manners on opposite sides. They make excellent talking points while at the dinner table to discuss what is and is not acceptable. With my girls, I try to emphasize one key point each month with them and focus almost exclusively on an area that could be improved, such as sitting up straight. This limits my suggestions to a few and helps me to focus on the positive instead of constantly nagging.

How do you promote good manners at home and in restaurants with children of your own or children you know? What are some of the worst offenses you have seen by children (or adults!) at the table?



  1. Love this post! Table manners are so important! I definitely learned how to set the table and behave appropriately as a little girl. My parents were definitely able to (and often did) take my sister and I to any restaurant.

    I am shocked when people have poor table manners. Before I met my husband, I definitely turned down a second date or two because the guy had terrible table manners on the first date.

  2. I just watched this week's ep of RHNJ and I lost count of the table infractions I saw at just one meal!

    We also take out son everywhere with us - he has been in every restaurant we have gone to and so many people are surprised we would take him but are also surprised at how well he does. You are so right, it is about children knowing what is expected of them.

    I love the learning placemats! Would they be fun as iron-ons - then they could be used over and over!

  3. The placemats are perfect for teaching. I too learned good manners at a young age and was expected to behave which I in turn passed on to my daughter. Laughed when I read about Goofus and Gallant! Hadn't thought about how I loved that magazine in years!
    Keep blogging, you are a fun read!

  4. This is such a great idea! I need to start my children off early! Thanks for sharing these great ideas. :)

  5. These mats are great!!! I remember having problems forgetting which was closest to the plate, knife or spoon, when I was growing up. I so wish I had these.

  6. Those mats are great! My children are being taught good table manners even though they are still really young.

    I get so riled when we are with my sister and her children just get up from the table. Especially in restaurants. Makes me want to scream! Even my 2 year old can ask to be excused. And in a restaurant, it's not until the check has been paid.

  7. Those mats are adorable! Do you mind sharing where you found them? XXOO

  8. Oh goodness at some of the bad manners I have seen...good for you for promoting this with the Minnies! The placements are such a great idea! :-) XOXO

  9. Well I sure wish I had those place mats for my kids when they were younger :)

    Goofus and Gallant, ha! Loved Hilights mag in general!

  10. Love those mats!!! Where can we find them???

  11. All 4 of the kids go with us and I love it when we walk in and see the look of horror on people's faces. I know by the time we leave, the little ones will have received many compliments on their behavior. Even waiters have told us, but we don't have high chairs or children's menus. Anything to try to discourage us. After the meal, it almost never fails, that we are asked when we will be back again. They are truly astonished the children could be so well behaved. I just don't understand why all children don't have manners.

  12. Where did you get those adorable mats?! Thanks for a another great post!



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