Charlotte Today

Teaching Table Manners to Pre-Teens

Click here to see the video or read the tips below.


On the TV talk show Charlotte Today, Aimee Symington and two of her Impressions’ cotillion participants, talked  about how to teach your tweens table manners.


Teaching Table Manners to Pre-Teens shouldn’t be hard!

Hopefully your pre-teens already know “the basics” of table manners, but in case they don’t, here is a refresher and some easy tips to share with them without getting too much complaining and eye-rolling.

Here are 3 simple tips to teach your kids great table manners before, during, and after the meal.

Before the meal:

  1. Kids at this age are old enough to help set the table. Remind them that the forks are placed on the left and that the knife and spoons go on the right of the plate. Bread plate on the left and glasses on the right.
  2. Put napkin in your lap when you sit down.
  3. Wait for everyone to be seated and for the host to begin before eating.


During the meal:

  1. Keep cell phones away from the table and do not get up to answer it! Parents need to role model this behavior. Kids should also make an effort to make polite conversation. Being able to make small talk starts with your family is an important skill to learn.
  2. Basics – Pass food to the right, say “please” and “thank you”, elbows and arms off the table, use your utensils not your fingers to eat, and keep food and crunching noises to a minimum. Don’t pick up something from the floor if you have dropped it in a restaurant.
  3. Try new food! This is the time to branch out and certainly to not be rude at someone’s house if served something that you have never had or don’t like.


After the meal:

  1. Place fork and knife in a 10:00 – 4:00 position with the blade of the knife facing towards you.
  2. Thank the host and ask to be excused.
  3. Put dishes away if at home. In a restaurant, put napkin on the table and push in chair.

Teaching table manners to pre-teens is such a vital skill as they venture off into the career world and begin to make an impression on employers and clients which happens, often times, over a meal. I encourage you to make this a priority and work it into your daily routine.

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