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By teaching children good table manners, you as parents give the kids important tools for social interaction, and laying the groundwork for good etiquette ensures they become pleasant dinner companions in the years to come, says Katherine Lee in an article on verywell.com. Here’s a list of Do’s and Don’ts for children at the dining table: 1. Wash Hands – Clean your hands and face before coming to the table. Show respect for the person cooking the meal and others at the dinner table. 2. Set the Table – Ask if you can help do anything and offer to set the table. Follow the “BMW” and “Left and right” rules. Bread and milk on the left and water on the right. Fork goes on the left – both have four letters. Knife goes on the right and both have five letters. 3. Sit Properly – Draw the chair close to the table after sitting in it. Don’t cross or stretch your legs in any direction.  4. Unfold Napkin: Put the napkin on your lap before you start eating. Place it on the chair if you are taking a break from eating. But, put on the table when you finish, next to the plate. But, not to fold it back after finishing eating.   5. No Elbows: Sit upright on your chair, and put your arms close to your body. Your wrists can rest on the table’s edge, but do not put your elbows on the table. Keep your free hand on your lap or rest your wrists on the edge of the table. Do not nudge your neighbor with your elbows. 6. Wait for Serving: Do not begin eating until everyone is seated and served. Remember to give preference for girls and guests. Wait for them to be served first. 7. Say Thanks: Make eye contact with the host or the waiters if eating out, and say thank you when you are served food on your plate. Do mention if the food has been delightfully served or is especially delicious. 8. Don’t Slouch: Sit straight and lean forward to bring the food from the plate to your mouth. Do not bend your back or slouch toward your plate.    9. Using Cutlery: You can use all three – forks, knives and spoons with your right hand, at an American meal. Hold the fork in the left hand and point it downwards to hold the food in place while using the knife to cut it, with your right hand. After cutting a bite sized piece, keep your knife on the plate, shift the fork to your right hand and eat. In a European meal, hold the fork in the left hand and eat with the left hand.  Rest the forks, knives and spoons on the plate between each bite. 10. Don’t Make Noises: Chew with your mouth closed. Don’t make any noises while eating like slurping. Don’t burp. Don’t gesture with your knife, fork, spoon or any cutlery in your hand. If any cutlery falls on the floor, just ignore and pick up the next available cutlery and continue, or softly ask the waiter or the host for another.  11. Talking Rules: Don’t talk when your mouth is full. Put down cutlery if you have to speak. Don’t talk to people sitting far from you if it is a formal dinner with lots of people at the table. Don’t interrupt others while they are talking. Wait your turn to speak. Share interesting anecdotes about your day at school, or friends, or the day’s events. Don’t talk about the personal food likes or dislikes at the dinner table. 12. Small Bites: Don’t stuff your mouth with large bites of food. Take small bites and never wolf or gulp down food. Don’t eat fast. 13. Drinking Liquids: Wipe your lips with your napkin before drinking any liquids. Put the cutlery down and then wipe your mouth holding the napkin with both hands. Always remember to place your glass on your right as food is always on your left.  14. Passing Food: Don’t reach for something on the table. Ask people seated next to you to pass you something you need. Once you have taken the food, pass the dishes to others on your own. If you are asked to pass the salt or pepper, pick up both and place them on the table near the person next to you, so they do the same until it reaches the person who asked for it. Don’t sprinkle your food in the middle of another person’s request. If you are waiting or passing the plate for a second helping, place your fork and knife parallel to each other to the right side of the plate, so that there is room for food.  15. Using Fingers: You can break small portions of bread (or rolls) with your fingers over the bread and butter plate. Use this plate to also hold olives, radishes, and other finger foods. Don’t lick your fingers. Apart from bread, foods that you can eat with fingers include cookies, chips, fries, fried chicken, bacon strips, hamburgers and sandwiches, small fruits and berries.  16. Meal Breaks: Always excuse yourself when have to leave the table halfway through the meal. Put your napkin on the chair. Cross the fork on the left and knife on the right, at center of the plate.  Keep them in a 4 hour 40 minutes position.  17. Removing from Mouth: Drop seeds and pits delicately on to your open palms and put them on your plate. With a fork pick out chicken bones, but you can use fingers to remove fish bones. Don’t use hands or toothpicks to remove stuff stuck to your teeth. If you must, cover the open mouth with your hand or napkin.   18. After Finishing: At the end of your meal, keep the fork and knife parallel to each other vertically across the center of the plate or are diagonally pointing to the right. Don’t put the cutlery on the surface of the table.  19. Finger Bowls: Don’t scrub your fingers, just gently dip your fingers and wipe with the napkin, and set the bowl to the side of your plate.  20. Set the chair: Draw your chair and push it back in towards the table after eating and getting up.    

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