7 Tips for Teaching Table Manners to Kids

With your family vacation and road trips approaching, learn tricks for dining -- in public with your little ones

Teach your kids good manners. 

The icy stare. You've seen it before. Maybe you've even given it. There's probably no place it's dished out more than a nice restaurant when a family approaches with their kids. Diners fear riots, extreme noise levels, flying food and impromptu games of hide and seek. But you don't need to limit yourself to fast-food and rest stop experiences any longer -- dining out is a fun family experience when everyone learns to practice good table manners.

Teach Your Kids Some Table Manners With These 7 Tips

"Taking young kids out to eat can be like feeding a pack of wild animals," says Robi Ludwig, Psy.D., a Care.com parenting expert. "You need to be patient and have fun, knowing there is a big learning curve as you are socializing your kids on how to behave in public." Don't put tons of pressure on yourself or feel like a failure when your normally docile 5-year-old squeezes ketchup into your purse. Table manners take time. And ketchup stains can (eventually) be removed.

We asked Dr. Ludwig and Louise Elerding, author of You've Got Manners! a children's book series, for tips on turning uncouth dining experiences into ones that are (somewhat) poised.

Alonna Friedman, Contributor, Care.com


This story was originally published on August 3, 2012.