Family Mealtimes

Many families with different cultures have different eating habits and manners when eating together at the table.
Family Mealtimes - Articles

Updated: August 8, 2017

Family Mealtimes

Families who eat together should pat themselves on the back! Eating together builds healthy children and healthy families. Parents are strong role models and can positively influence children's eating habits. It's best to start early, when the children are young and can form positive habits at an early age.

Young children may need a bit of help learning good mealtime manners. First, make a list of manners that are most important to your family. Next, review your family's list with all your children, young or old. It can be while reading a story book at bedtime for younger children, or for older children, while in the car driving to an activity.

Here are a few table manners to get you started:

  • Come to the table when you are called.
  • Wait to eat until all have been seated, or in some families, after grace has been said.
  • Keep your elbows off the table.
  • Keep the hand you are not using in your lap.
  • Place the napkin in your lap.
  • Talk when your mouth is empty.
  • Place the knife and fork in the center of the plate to show you have finished eating.
  • Place napkin to the left side of the plate when you are done eating.
  • Add your own suggested manners to the list. If friends join in the meal, they are expected to use manners also.

Mealtimes together can be fun for families.

Instructors

Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program (EFNEP) PA Nutrition Education TRACKS (SNAP-Ed)

More by Mary Reistetter Ehret, M.S.,R.D.,L.D.N.