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Table Manners Lesson Plan

Bang-on Table Manners Lesson Plan for Your Little One

If you want to teach your child the proper table etiquette, here is a table manners lesson plan. Using this, you can teach your child how to behave while sitting at a dinner table with others.
Ratnashri Dutta
Last Updated: Mar 17, 2018
Chewing quietly, chewing quietly
Do not slurp, do not slurp,
We must say excuse me,
We must say excuse me
When we burp,
When we burp.
Imagine you are in a posh restaurant, enjoying your dinner, when suddenly the child at the next table starts talking loudly to his parents, bangs the spoon on the plate, keeps dropping bits of food on the floor, and, to your disgust, eats with his mouth open. What will be the first thought that comes to your mind? May be something on the lines of, "Such an ill-mannered child. Did nobody teach him/her any table manners?". Well, do remember that the same could happen to your children as well if you don't teach them from a very young age how to behave when sitting at the dinner table. To learn how you can do that, just follow this lesson plan given below and your child will be one of the best behaved children among all his/her friends.
Where to Begin
Before you actually start off with teaching table manners to you kids, explain to them their importance. Tell them why they need to know it, how it will help them, etc. Don't try and fill their head with instructions on the very first day; instead, teach them a little lesson every passing day. If you try and force down the instructions down their throat, then they will never learn. Now that the kids know why they need to learn good manners, it's time that you illustrate how they should behave in a restaurant or at a party. You can begin with simple drawings which will show where to keep what on the table, what to hold in which hand, etc. Pictures speak a thousand words, hence, the children tend to pick up the habits more quickly when you show them these illustrations. You can also ask the kids to enact how they should behave while sitting at the dinner table. Make sure that everyone gets a chance to act. This way, even you as a teacher or a parent will understand where your kid or student is lagging behind.
Now let's see through what kind of lesson plan can be taught to kids. Before learning how to sit at the table, your child should know how to lay the table. Whether in school or at home, you can allow your child or student to help you lay the table in a proper manner. This will teach them the proper etiquette for setting a table.
Table Setting Activity
Material Required:
  • Mats
  • Bread and butter plate
  • Napkins
  • Forks
  • Knives
  • Spoons
  • Dinners plates
  • Glasses
Lesson Plan:
  • Divide the students into groups, with each group having a place to set up their table. Give them the forks, knives, glasses, plates, spoons, napkins, and mats. Also give out handouts which talk about how to lay the table.
  • Demonstrate how to set a table for both formal and informal settings. Also describe the meals that should be served with each setting.
  • Illustrate it for the kids to understand better. After that, allow the kids to lay the table themselves.
  • If the kids go wrong, correct them. The group which has laid the best table should get an incentive for their good work, which will also to encourage the others to learn fast.
  • While they are setting the table, ask them different questions, like how they think that the napkin should be used or where should they place them before starting off with their meal and after finishing their meal.
  • You can also ask one group to check whether their neighboring group is following the correct method or not. This way, they will learn fast and the others will also learn where they are going wrong.
Correct Behavior at the Table
  • Teach the kids how they are supposed to sit at the table, such as sit up straight, not put their elbows on the table, etc. Also tell them what they are not supposed to do at the dining table, such as not to eat with their mouths open, not to talk with their mouth full, how to use the napkin, when to say "thank you" and "please", how to ask others to pass something, etc.
  • Another lesson which you can carry out is that you can take the kids to restaurants to observe others while they are eating, how they behave at the table, how they eat, etc. The kids can later practice this at home or in the school.
  • You can also carry out certain exercises to check whether the kids have learned anything or not. They can be asked to fill some questionnaires, such as the dos and don'ts.
The Goops
To make teaching more fun, you can also give your kids the following poem, and read it out to them. Poems like these will make it more fun for the kids to learn the good habits while sitting at the table. You can also ask kids to write their own poems and enact them in front of every one. This way, they will learn things better and you will understand how well they have understood what you taught them.
The Goops they lick their fingers,
And the Goops they lick their knives;
They spill their broth on the tablecloth-
Oh, they lead disgusting lives!
The Goops they talk while eating,
And loud and fast they chew;
And that is why I'm glad that I
Am not a Goop - Are you?
The Goops are gluttonous and rude,
They gug and gumble with their food;
They throw their crumbs upon the floor,
And at dessert they tease for more.
They will not eat their soup and bread
but like to gobble sweets, instead,
And this is why I oft decline,
When I am asked to stay and dine!
― Gelett Burgess
These elementary lessons will teach your kids table manners in a simple and more enjoyable way. So, the next time they are going to a restaurant, be sure that they know their P's and Q's properly. The lessons given above are surely going to help you teach your children the proper etiquette. So, the next time you go to a restaurant, be ready to accept the compliments that you get from others regarding how well behaved your child is.
Table Setting Activity
Formal table place setting on white