Play Acting Can Make Manners Fun For Kids


Teaching toddlers and preschoolers table manners can be challenging. But getting little ones in the habit of saying "Please" and "Thank-You" and even "May I be excused?" is a very good thing. And the earlier kids use manners and polite words the more likely these habit will stick as they get older.

So once in a while we have "restaurant night" at our house. I help the kids make "menus" with pictures from magazines or simply have them draw pictures of three different "menu items" they can select from for dinner that night. This usually means macaroni and cheese, spaghetti, veggie hot dogs. I also add cut carrot sticks, broccoli with a dip (only way I can get them to eat broccoli!)and peas. Then the kids also make a "dessert menu" and have one or two choices to put on it like vanilla ice cream, yogurt, fresh cut up fruit salad, cookies, etc.

We all set the table with a special table cloth, cloth napkins, matching plates, and even some flowers. Usually I will play the part of the waiter first, seating the kids and passing out the menus. The hubby will come after me and pour the milk. The kids will pick out their dinner selections, and I will prepare them. It helps to have whatever items that are on the menu made ahead of time, or easily prepared very quickly. When we serve the dishes we speak very politely and emphasize saying "Please" and "Thank-you."

My daughter and 4 year old like to take turns being the waiter/server ( my 1 1/2 year old is just too little still), and hubby and I will be the customers.

It's a great way to practice manners, and it usually means the kids will eat some veggies without too much hassle ( a nice bonus!) It also reinforces the habit of staying seated at the table while eating.

Best of all though is the fun we have together doing our "restaurant nights".

1 comment:

  1. What a great idea. I think manners are so important and unfortunately don't seem to be as prevalent as in the past. Hunter is still a little young for this "learning game" but at 20 months he uses please and thank-you often!

    Thanks for the tip!

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