Good table manners aren’t just about making your mother happy. Whether we care to acknowledge it or not, how we eat is an outward sign of our inner personality and character. By teaching table manners early and often, they’ll become second nature.
Has your family mastered these basic table manners?
Rule Number One
Before beginning your meal, store all electronic devices.
Rule Number Two
As soon as you sit down at the table, put your napkin in your lap — and don’t forget to use it during the meal if you need to blot your lips or wipe your fingers. After the meal, the napkin is to be loosely folded (soiled parts hidden) and placed to the left of your plate.
Rule Number Three
Wait until everyone is served before picking up your cutlery and beginning to eat.
Rule Number Four
Cut one bite of food at a time, sit up straight, and bring your food up to your mouth rather than lowering your head to the food, and never talk with food in your mouth.
Rule Number Five
If you need to rest your hand, prop your wrist on the edge of the table, or put it in your lap. No arms or elbows on the table.
Rule Number Six
Eat as quietly as possible. Avoid making noises of any kind, either with implements against the plate or teeth, or bodily noises such as slurping, lip-smacking, or burping.
Rule Number Seven
Ask for food to be passed to you. Salt and pepper are always passed together, and food is passed to the right.
Rule Number Eight
When you’re finished eating, place the knife and fork parallel to each other (tines up, knife blade in) with the handles on the right rim of the plate in the four o’clock position. (Six o’clock position in Europe.)
Rule Number Nine
No grooming at the table — this includes picking your teeth, blowing your nose, or fixing your hair and makeup.
Rule Number Ten
Always say, “Excuse me” when leaving the table. It isn’t necessary to tell where you’re going or what you’re doing.
In today’s seemingly casual world, people are paying more attention to the importance of etiquette so it is essential to master this valuable skill! Practice and encourage these simple manners daily to make them a habit so that you and your family will have table manners befitting royalty.
Colleen is the founder of Total Image Institute, and author of the International Bestseller Dressing with Dignity. Join Colleen’s mailing list for exclusive content, private Q&As, giveaways, and more.