Table manners are important

Table manners also look good on children

“Sit upright”, “Don't mess around”, “You're holding the knife wrong” - comments like this drive away any appetite. However, meals together should be fun. The behavior expert and etiquette trainer Katrin Künzle explains how parents can skillfully teach their children table manners.

"I don't want my soup!" Table manners are a must and can be practiced in a relaxed manner. Image: iStockphoto, Thinkstock.

Anyone who dines with others in business life, who goes in and out of noble restaurants, must have good table manners. Ms. Künzle, in your etiquette courses you also familiarize children with table manners. Why are table manners important to children?

Katrin Künzle: Children are still uncritical when it comes to table manners. But when they grow up to become young people, their improper behavior while eating is noticed by their peers, and they are then considered embarrassing. At this age, however, it is already difficult to relearn. "What Hans doesn't learn, Hans never learns again," as the vernacular says wisely. It is much better to get used to it at a young age, to put a napkin on your lap and hold the cutlery properly. In this way, children acquire the secure feeling of being able to behave well at the table.

However, many children hardly know table manners. Do parents place less value on rules of behavior today than generations before?

Many parents are under time pressure in everyday life. Often both parents are employed. Meals where all family members gather at the table are rare. It is understandable that parents want to encourage a relaxed atmosphere during the few meals they have together and therefore demand less table manners.

Are table manners and a relaxed atmosphere mutually exclusive?

No, not at all! When everyone eats well, the meal is all the more fun. But sentences like "What is on the plate is eaten!", "Stop poking around in the food!" and "Eat your plate empty!" easily spoil the appetite. Parents mustn't put pressure on, because that takes away the joy of eating. Fortunately, table manners can be conveyed without complaining. The important thing is to stay relaxed.

Children should know these table manners:

Hygiene is a basic requirement for eating. Therefore: wash your hands before eating!

It is important that children learn to correctly assess their own hunger. You should only put as much food on your plate as you can eat.

Burping, smacking and slurping may be a sign of well-being in other cultures - but in this country nobody wants to hear such eating noises. Discussion topics that spoil the appetite of others can be discussed after the meal.

  • Don't over-fill your mouth

Children also want to talk while eating. Therefore it is good if you learn not to overfill your mouth. This way he is free again more quickly to tell something or ask something in between. Those who speak with their mouths full are barely understood. Even worse: there is a high risk that small bits of food will be thrown out of the mouth.

If you hold the cutlery correctly, it will be easier to cut. An aha experience, also for children!

Of course, nobody has to sit rigidly at the table. But if you sit comfortably upright, you ensure that the food slips more easily into the stomach. In addition, the bowls on the table are easier to reach. It also reduces the risk of food falling on your lap.


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How early does the upbringing start at the table?

Babies and toddlers want to touch their food. You mash peas and slip puree through your fingers. They literally want to "grasp" what they are eating. That is right and important for their development. But parents can already begin to be good role models. If you read emails at the table, you shouldn't be surprised if the grown child later wants to use the cell phone while eating.

From what age can children attend behavioral classes?

We accept children from the age of eight in our courses. From this age onwards, their motor skills are so developed that they can hold the cutlery well. Now they are also open to table manners and have fun talking while eating.

How are table manners fun?

If you convey it in a playful way! "Look, this is how Queen Elisabeth holds her stemmed glass!" Little games can be built in: “Everyone gets a napkin to clean their mouths in between. Who has the most beautiful glass at the end of the meal - without grease stains? " In my courses I ask the children to imagine that a cat is sitting on their lap and that a mouse is hidden between the back and the rump. In this way, the children automatically sit upright. In addition, children love secret languages! They are therefore particularly fond of learning the cutlery language, which shows the waiter whether they are taking a break, finished or want a lookup. It is important that parents briefly explain the point of a table custom. If the table manners work well, parents can visit a restaurant with the children at the weekend as a reward.

To person:

Katrin Künzle from Oetwil an der Limmat (ZH) and her company Künzle Organization have been offering etiquette courses especially for children, young people, apprenticeship seekers, learners, but also for adults and companies for eight years. The licensed etiquette trainer and organizer with further training in violence prevention and body language is also the mother of two teenagers. It was these two daughters who made her want to take an etiquette course for children. Credo: Good behavior is fun. more