Are Table Manners Still Important?

Are Table Manners Still Important?
20 October 2017

How do you feel about table manners?

Are they high on your list of priorities when it comes to the things you focus on teaching your kids?

I was listening to the radio this morning when I heard a segment about kids and table manners. What surprised me was a comment the presenter made about how rare it is for families to eat together, especially around a table.

Really? Does no-one actually do that anymore? I'm not so sure. In our house, we eat dinner together at the kitchen table at least four or five nights of the week. Are we really alone in this?

Admittedly, meal times can be one of the most stressful parts of our family life, so I do regularly consider feeding the kids earlier in the evening so that my husband and I can enjoy a peaceful, relaxing meal once they're all in bed – but it's really important to me that my kids experience eating together as a family.

I'm not really sure why. Maybe it's because that's what my family did when I was a kid, so family mealtimes just feel normal to me. Or maybe it's because, especially as my kids get older, I'm all too aware that opportunities to spend time together as a family can feel few and far between and so mealtimes feel sort of sacred.

So, yes, table manners are pretty important in my house, simply because I'd rather not spend an hour in the company of kids who chew with their mouths wide open, or who don't know how to use a knife and fork. I don't think that makes me odd but I'm sure there are folks who will disagree.

I'm not over the top about table manners but the basics matter to me – sitting on your chair 'properly', using cutlery, swallowing your food before trying to talk to me, and helping to clear the table after the meal.

But what's your view on this? Do you think it's important to eat together as a family or are you happy to eat in front of the telly with plates perched on your knees? (I'm not judging) And if table manners matter to you, how do you teach them to your kids, and which ones do you think are most important?

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61 comments

  • Vicky W.

    Is this even a question that needs asking ...... of course table manners are still important

    • Kristina B.

      Exactly what I was going to say

  • Siân D.

    All manners are important

  • Layla B.

    Yes because they are not just for the table. If a child can have good manners at the table they can have them everywhere

  • Sarah D.

    Table manners, and manners in general are important! We eat every meal at the table, and I assumed that was normal?!

  • Laura P.

    How can table manners be considered old fashioned? Surely being able to sit at a table with others and eat a meal in a sociable and considerate manner is timeless?

  • Cheryl L.

    Can't believe it's even a question!

  • Julie W.

    God I hope so, or we are wasting a shed load of time.

  • Beverley B.

    Very important...am happy to say I can take my grand children anywhere as they have good table manners and good manners

  • Catherine B.

    Table manners. Manners in general (please & thank you etc) littering, sharing, kindness... all things that shouldn't NEED to be taught but sadly in today's society is sadly lacking in not only children but a lot of adults :(

    • Angela A.

      These things DO need to be taught... how do you expect kids to know .. guess?

    • Catherine B.

      I menat that they should be second nature as children learn from things surrounding them. It should not be formal teaching.

  • Lisa K.

    Why would you every think a lack or simple mannerisms in any situation is acceptable

  • Nicola

    Yes they are important. However I have an autistic child who has none and refuses to learn any other way. Eating at the table is now a treat for me. 

    Keep the standards up. 

    And no phones at the table. 

  • Barbara R.

    All manners are very important

  • Charlie J.

    Absolutely... why would they not be???

  • Nicky H.

    Not just table manners!!!!

  • Caroline D.

    Have you seen the way kids hold their cutlery now? Knife in the left hand, fork in the right, stab, tear, rip & eat! Obviously their parents couldn't eat properly either as they're the ones who teach you table manners...

    • Heidi D.

      Just want to say I eat with my knife in my left hand and fork in my right and I am very well mannered, especially when I eat. I do not see what difference this makes when it comes to manners. I use a knife and fork, I don't tear at food and shovel it in, I eat with my mouth shut and do not talk when eating. People should concentrate more on eating with their mouth shut and taking their time with eating instead of concentrating on which hands they eat with!! Sorry for the rant but I really hate it when people presume and try and correct me.

    • Nichola W.

      My son has special cutlery but still struggles to use it at times, because he has a disability ( not an obvious one) not through lack of teaching!

    • Vicky W.

      I think you are confusing manners with whether a person is right or left handed.

    • Celeste D.

      Exactly Vicky Warner, I have twins and they are both lefties.

    • Caroline D.

      No, there's a big difference and a left handed person holds cutlery perfectly fine. There is just a way of holding a knife & fork nowadays.

    • JoAnne S.

      Caroline Dinnage- are you left handed? I eat with my knife in my left hand, fork in my right, but use them in just the same way as everyone else (only a mirror image). I wouldn’t say that I didn’t have good table manners just because my cutlery was a different way round.

    • Liz L.

      I’m left handed. I’ll eat with my hands instead of cutlery next time then so you don’t have to see me with the fork in the wrong hand :joy::joy:

  • Dannii L.

    Of course they are important and my children have been brought up to have all kinds of manners. Although shock horror i hold my fork in my right hand and knife in the left :scream::scream::scream::scream::scream::scream::scream::scream:

    • Claire B.

      i do too, is that wrong??

    • Dannii L.

      Personally i dont think so but apparently society says it is :joy::joy:

  • Katherine T.

    Manners in general should all matter

  • Karen R.

    Yes they are important, but the post mentions about how rare it is for families to sit together to eat. We need to remember that most people don't work 9-5 anymore. My partner is rarely home before 7 (and not yet home tonight) and my kids go to bed at 7:30, we only ever get chance to sit together at the weekends. They still have good manners though, mostly.

    • Libby A.

      Exactly, I'm in a similar position. Husband works long hours (out 5am this morning, won't be home till after 10pm tonight). The kids go to bed at 6pm. We eat together at the weekends and the children eat together in the week, I usually sit with them and chat about their day.

  • Fay P.

    Table manners? I would settle for people not putting iPhones/tablets in front of their kids when out at restaurants! Ok we've all done it and if there's a long wait for food they can be a good time filler, but put them away when the food arrives!!!

    • Lisa H.

      I can't bear that either...colouring book and pencils here

    • Libby A.

      We use them occasionally, but only whilst waiting for food. My son has no interest in a colouring book. My favourite is a bag of Lego, he and his baby brother play it together but that also goes away once the food arrives.

    • Melanie T.

      We use toys and colouring books and talk to our children.

  • Stacey M.

    Absolutely- even if just to show consideration to others. If we go out to eat, I don't expect other people to have to put up with my child racing around, making a mess, or chomping her food for everyone to listen to. So, she eats nicely and stays seated so everyone can just relax.

    • Lisa S.

      I'm with u on that (that's why I'm don't take mine out!!!!)

    • Stacey M.

      Much easier with just one to deal with :grin:

  • Jade W.

    Wow there are an awful lot of people watching others at mealtimes! Who cares what hand they hold their knife and fork in, who cares if some parents use a tablet to entertain their kids at meal times? What difference does it make to any of you? I'd rather my child ate with the wrong hands than be as judgemental about children as some of you are, clearly all too busy nosing at what other people do than getting on with your own lives :rolling_eyes: Congratulations on winning at parenting because your child holds their knife and fork in the correct hand!

    • Jade W.

      honestly :rolling_eyes: I don't even know why I reply to these things, there's always some smug person trying to lord it over someone on something as ridiculous as this.

    • Felicia B.

      I think my boy and I eat ‘wrong handed’ but we have good table manners...

  • Donna T.

    yes table manners are very important.

  • Lorna J.

    All types of Manners are Always Important..you Need them ALL your life !

  • izzywoo

    i want to be able to teach my children how to behave when they go out and about to restaurants etc...and of course at home too. My dad worked shifts so was rarely at home for dinner times but my mum would make me and my brother eat at the table. It is now fond memories. Also when i let my kids eat in the living room they get food and drink everywhere so thats enough to put me off!!

  • Sammi B.

    Of course it is! Why is this even a question??

  • Sophie C.

    Bloody of course manners cost nothing so there's no excuse!!

  • Jo D.

    Table manners and family mealtimes are very important to us as a family.

  • Hannah G.

    All manners are important imo

  • Karina W.

    OMG yes!! Although some parents could do with learning them themselves first!

  • Alyssa M.

    I insist that my children dont talk with food in thwir mouths and chew with their mouths closed to me those are basic manners along with pleases and thankyous manners should be part of life its shocking how many kids arnt tought to use basic manners these days

  • Holley J.

    Table manners begin from the moment they can sit at the table in this house. No eating on the floor in front of the tv. Manners are one of the foundations of life

  • Janine B.

    Of course it's important to teach table manners

  • Susan T.

    Yes it is important. Its called having standards.

  • Gillian S.

    There important in our house

  • Tessa F.

    Why is this even a question. Of course it's important.

  • Nicky P.

    So important! We are a working family and don't get to sit down together to eat that often, but our 3 year old has good manners and eats nicely. I work in a restaurant and I'm shocked at the amount of people who sit their children in front of a phone or tablet to keep them quiet while eating instead of actually talking to them and interacting with them!

  • Natalie S.

    The cutlery thing is ridiculous. I couldn’t give 2 hoots if my child used a knife and fork at all, let alone properly. You know why? Because I struggle to get him to eat things! So if he scoops up some sweet corn with his hands and into his mouth then so be it!

    But other basic manners are important. As are manners in general which most folk seem to lack these days. All generations included

  • Annie S.

    Manners, whether at a dining table or just manners in general are very important, but they seem to be dying out. A lot of my 10yo daughters friends don't seem to have been taught table manners or how/when to say please and thank you. Just teach your kids manners, they go a long way.

  • Rachael W.

    My kids had great table manners until they went to school now we have to say something every meal time about how they behave. Schools need to help children learn how to use cutlery etc my oldest now shovels her food in and ends up wearing most of it :rage: I don't care which hand they hold the cutlery in bug manners are important in all aspects of life

  • Louise G.

    They are at school they want good maners

  • Tamara P.

    Yes table manners are important. My and mum children sit at the tablet breakfast ,lunches and tea. My husband works late but I still sit at the table and eat with my children. They love telling me about their days and things while we are at the tablet. Every day of the week we are at the tablet. Wouldn't not be a reason why we weren't at the dinner table. Very important x

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