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Table Manners

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  • Table Manners

    Does anyone else have the experience of day care kids eating like pigs? :P It makes me wonder if people teach table manners anymore! All of the kids I care for chomp away with their mouths open. I really think people allow this behavior too often for toddlers/preschoolers, and I think that is the age that it needs to start being addressed. any creative ideas for helping lack of table manners?

  • #2
    I am interested in techniques. I have one that needs a lot of work eating cleanly and I am out of tricks. DCM laughs and says it comes from her, so no help there.


    • #3
      i have been working on this ALL summer with the school agers and getting NOWHERE. they all think its cute to burt and fart and make a mess and goof off at the table. 12 weeks theyve been here and its not getting any better. if it was up to me i would take their food and remove them from the table, but i;m not allowed to "withhold" food. i would love some suggestions!!!!

      thank goodness its back to school next week!!!! yeeaahhh!!!!


      • #4
        I have one sa that thinks I'm his servent and I need to clean up after him. But he gets that from his dad (mom always complains) I have no problem witholding food if the nonsense continued-I would offer it later when they can act civil. You see, your still offering the food just a bit later, no one is going to be mad but the kids, but obviously they are use to having it their way.


        • #5
          I'm not sure this is the same thing, but I have a 20mo old who would throw his food. A few days of taking the food away and cleaning him up and sending him on his way to play cured that! Not sure if that's the same as withholding food or not, but by my way of thinking, if he was throwing it, he was done. I would just tell him he must not be hungry if he's throwing it, and he figured out that he needed to eat, not throw, if he was hungry.

          With the SA's, could you move the offending person to another spot? Or put their back to the group? I find with that age, they do it to get attention, and if they don't have that attention, they may stop. Maybe remove them from the group until they can behave at the table? Or even, like countrymom said, remove them until the rest are done eating and offer lunch later than the rest.

          I guess I'd suggest the same for toddlers too. Model the good behavior and after a reminder or two of "chew with your mouth closed" or whatever, remove them and have them eat alone.

          As for the messy ones, I'd love to hear suggestions for that issue! I have an almost 2 year old who is horribly messy - gets food everywhere, gets ground into his clothes (and yes, he wears a bib), will get it in his hair (?!?), etc. I also have a 15mo old who will eat the same food, but other than wiping a little around his mouth and his hands (he's still working on using utensils), I don't have a huge mess to clean up with him.


          • #6
            Originally posted by marniewon View Post
            As for the messy ones, I'd love to hear suggestions for that issue! I have an almost 2 year old who is horribly messy - gets food everywhere, gets ground into his clothes (and yes, he wears a bib), will get it in his hair (?!?), etc. I also have a 15mo old who will eat the same food, but other than wiping a little around his mouth and his hands (he's still working on using utensils), I don't have a huge mess to clean up with him.
            I have a 3yo that eats from the top down so has food all over the face and hands.... I can correct and it works for 2 bites then its face in the food again, and forks/spoons are just as hard. i am confident it comes from home.


            • #7
              I use to have a group of 2-4 year olds that I will put at the table one at a time for lunch because if they ate together it was crazy. After a while I would let certain kids eat together and not others, if you can't behave you eat by yourself.


              • #8
                I have had a few like this too...Here, we are required to sit down and eat with the kids, so I made sure to sit every messy kid close to me, in arm's reach. If he/she started stuffing his/her face, or getting food everywhere, I would gently touch their arm and say, "_____, remember, we have to be careful with our food so we don't make a mess." or "Eat slowly, chew it up, then swallow." or "One bite at a time." or "Hair doesn't eat. Please don't put your food up there." Things like that. After one lunch time of CONSTANTLY telling one kid how to eat, he is now one of the cleanest eaters we have, and tells me daily to watch him eat. If it's possible for you to stay in arm's reach, and stop the messy before it happens or before it gets too bad, maybe that will help them learn! Good luck, I know it's a horrible thing to have to watch.


                • #9
                  Chewing with their mouth open is one of my biggest peeves! It is like nails on a chalk board to me! My own kids NEVER chewed with their mouth open, so I don't understand why others do. I know sometimes they have to if they have a stuffy nose, but besides that, there's no reason for it. At one point I had 3 doing it! I would play music so it would drown some of the noise out for my own sanity. What worked for me was to give 2 warnings of chew with your mouth closed. If they didn't need anymore than 2 warnings, then they got a stamp. Worked great for the 3.

                  However, current dcg is terrible! It's so bad her little sister is doing it. I know the parents don't correct it, so it's just me. She's not here over the summer, but was here for one lunch. Seriously, every bite she took, I repeated, "Close your mouth. You are a little girl, not a pig, close your lips while you chew." To clarify, I wasn't calling her a pig or anything like that. We have talked many times about how animals eat and make a lot of noise while eating, but that people don't. Anyway, by the end of the meal, she was a tiny bit better. I know I'm going to have to start all over when she starts coming this week. I have also removed her when it got to the point where she clearly wasn't even trying. She then had to eat by herself.

                  I have been so tempted to just not even correct it, but I just can't let that go. To me, table manners (and any manners) are an important life skill and this may be the only place they learn it. Stick with correcting the kids, remove them when needed, and reward the good. I know it's hard, but some day you'll be able to enjoy a pleasant eating experience with them and suddenly realize they actually have manners! If not, blast some great music when they are eating so you don't have to hear them chew with their mouth open ::


                  • #10
                    Let me apologize for saying this, but I have the opposite problem! I only watch one family with 3 siblings... and they are TOO worried about being messy! To the extent that when I make them a treat like cupcakes or rice krispie treats, they don't want to eat them because they are too messy or sticky. And as siblings, they each argue over whose mouth and face is the cleanest after they are done. It's funny! But at the same time, kids should be kids, and enjoy eating messy foods! That's what clean-up after meals is for!


                    • #11
                      Laughing my butt off at "Hair doesn't eat."

                      So glad that we are not required to sit and eat with the kids. I'd never get anything done - lunch can last up to 45 minutes sometimes! While they are eating I am usually loading up the dishwasher, wiping down the counters, amd stealing some time on the computer.


                      • #12
                        Geez, sounds like you have all my stepkids at your house! They eat the same manners...I now refuse to eat with them when they are here. The minute somebody wipes their mouth on their sleeve, I pick up my plate and eat somewheres else.

                        My DCB 14 months, has a nasty habit of throwing his sippy cup on the floor, and throwing his food when he is full, so I take the cup away(for a while) and clean him up and say ok we are all done now. That ends everything.

                        The 2 1/2 DCG I have is an angel...she doesnt even need a napkin most of the time..


                        • #13
                          Table manners are BIG to me. Starting at about the same time a baby begins eating baby food I sit the child at the table with us when we eat lunch, the baby won't eat but they sit and take everything in. When they get a little older they will eat a small snack while we eat our lunch. The kids who I have had since they have been this age have never had a problem with their table manners. For the kids who are older we make it into a game, eating quietly, using napkins, saying please and thank you, trying all of the foods on our plates, etc. If I have to speak to a child more than once they leave the table until everyone is finished and then they can come back and finish their meal. After lunch is when I do stories to get everyone ready for napping and most of the dck's look forward to the stories.

                          Basically I make sure that the kids know from day one that we do not play at the table and when they do decide the table is for play they loose their rights to eat at the table with their friends.


                          • #14
                            OMG - chomping food makes me NUTS. i am so laid back with my own kids. if they wanna eat in the living room or take a snack in their room cus they're playing a game - fine, whatever. i don't really care.

                            but i guess my daughter picked up on my husband's eating habits cus she used to smack her mouth like a cow when she was eating and it drove me NUTS! it drove/drives me nuts with him and i seriously wanna strangle him, but i tell her, "i am NOT going to listen to that. you need to stop or leave the table." and no i'm not kidding.

                            you can put your elbows on the table and eat soup with a fork all day long around me - but do NOT smack your food! i work with this girl who drinks so loudly, you can hear her gulping - and lemme tell you, she can DOWN a drink. it literally makes me cringe and gets my blood boiling. oh yeah, scraping a fork or spoon across the teeth makes me wanna pull my ears off, too. WHY!!!!

                            you can double dip, spill drinks, burp if you can't help it - but if you eat with your mouth open, i'm gonna get EVIL! please, do society a favor and stop it before it's too late.
                            Last edited by QualiTcare; 08-30-2010, 11:01 PM.


                            • #15
                              I CANNOT handle kids that chew with their mouth's open. I think I say it every meal, multiple times! I would have been glocked in the side of the head if I chewed with my mouth open as a I think it's hereditary for me.

                              It's one certain family though of 4 dck's that do it and I know for a fact that they don't discipline their all in all, it doesn't surprise me when they do it. They scarf down all the good stuff on their plate and then go back to whatever they were doing....****les here are you have to put your plate in the sink and cup on the counter. I have to repeat myself every meal to remind them to do it!