Din­ing eti­quette has a big ef­fect on one’s so­cial stand­ing. It also tends to go a long way in help­ing one make a last­ing first im­pres­sion. This is why it’s im­por­tant to in­cul­cate good ta­ble man­ners at an early age says Zohra Chi­tal­wala

Mother & Baby - - CONTENTS -

Din­ing eti­quette has a big ef­fect on one’s so­cial stand­ing

Have you ever been dis­gusted at the site of some­one talk­ing to you with food in their mouth? Let’s then talk about the smacks, slurps and burps that are a com­mon site at even well-es­tab­lished restau­rants. The truth is, there’s never a dearth of un­re­fined, ill-man­nered people all around, but the fact is, you can’t blame them. They haven’t been taught other­wise. Good din­ing skills are im­por­tant through­out a per­son’s life. But the key is to start young. After all, eat­ing and so­cial­is­ing are in­ter­twined in our cul­ture, and the two are mu­tu­ally ex­clu­sive, for the most part. More­over, hav­ing a well- be­haved child, par­tic­u­larly one that knows his ta­ble man­ners, is al­ways a plea­sure to be around. If that’s not all, add to that the fact that a child who can in­de­pen­dently man­age him­self at din­ner time, makes his par­ents proud. Of course, it’s up to the par­ents to en­cour­age and teach their chil­dren well, and per­haps lead by ex­am­ple, if the sit­u­a­tion calls for it. But first, it’s im­por­tant to un­der­stand some com­mon din­ing prob­lems kids usu­ally have at the ta­ble: Their in­abil­ity to fo­cus on any­thing aside from the food in front of them. Eat­ing and chew­ing with their mouths open.

Using the right cut­lery for the right course. Their in­abil­ity to cor­rectly hold the cut­lery

Now, mak­ing a game out of proper be­hav­iour at the din­ing ta­ble can go a long way. It will help them see that ta­ble man­ners are, in fact, valu­able, fun and some­times even a re­ward­ing skill to pos­sess.

Some din­ing eti­quette to re­mem­ber:

1) All table­ware should be one knuck­les-length away from the bot­tom edge of the ta­ble. Or­gan­i­sa­tion, es­pe­cially when set­ting the ta­ble is just as im­por­tant as it is in other as­pects of life. In a way, it’s just like mak­ing a last­ing first im­pres­sion.

2) It’s im­por­tant to teach kids ex­actly where the cut­lery is placed. Knives and spoons both go to the right of the plate with the knife blade fac­ing the plate. The spoon goes next to the knife. Soup is one of the few foods that one should eat with a spoon. Fork is the proper tool for most foods: one can both cut and eat with a fork.

3) The two main styles of eat­ing with a fork and knife are the Euro­pean style and Amer­i­can style. They’re eas­ily dis­tin­guished by the way one holds the cut­lery. In the Euro­pean style the cut­lery doesn’t switch hands. The fork al­ways re­mains in the left hand and the knife in the right. In the Amer­i­can style the dom­i­nant move­ment is the right hand which holds the fork. When one is re­quired to use the knife to cut up the food, the diner tends to switch the form to the left hand, and once done, switched the fork back to the right hand to eat with.

4) There are a few don’ts when it comes to how one must con­duct one­self at meal­time. For ex­am­ple, talk­ing while you have food in your mouth is un­ac­cept­able. People also tend to wave cut­lery as they ges­ture dur­ing a con­ver­sa­tion. This is con­sid­ered rude and a def­i­nite no-no. In­stead, place the cut­lery on your plate, swal­low the food in your mouth and then speak. An­other don’t is slouch­ing and plac­ing one’s el­bows on the ta­ble while at din­ner. All of these are con­sid­ered bad ta­ble man­ners. If worked on from a young age, a child will al­ways keep it in mind.

5) Mo­bile de­vices should never be placed on the ta­ble and they should be turned off. If par­ents start adopt­ing this prac­tice, chil­dren will learn to do the same. The only ex­cep­tion al­lowed is when chil­dren are din­ning out with any­one other than their par­ents, and a par­ent might need to reach them. Only un­der cer­tain cir­cum­stances should the use of phones be per­mit­ted. How­ever, they must be placed on vi­brate mode and kept in their pock­ets, not on the ta­ble.

6) When din­ing with oth­ers, body lan­guage is im­por­tant. Your body should be fac­ing the ta­ble, not side­ways. Your feet should be on the floor or as close to it as you can get with your back straight against the chair. If you’re sit­ting at a bench make sure your back is straight. El­bows don’t be­long on the ta­ble, though you can rest your wrists on it. For kids, make sure they re­frain from shak­ing their dan­gling legs, con­sid­er­ing they’re not tall enough to reach the floor.

7) For most people, most of their din­ing ex­pe­ri­ences take place in in­for­mal set­tings. Whether at a ca­sual din­ing restau­rant or lunch hour at school, most meals en­tail sit­ting among fam­ily and friends. How­ever, this does not negate the im­por­tance of hav­ing good ta­ble man­ners. Prac­tic­ing good man­ners on a reg­u­lar ba­sis will help form the habit and can last a life­time.

8) There are cer­tain ev­ery­day din­ing si­t­u­a­tions, for ex­am­ple, in which you can eat with your hands. Foods as pizza, ham­burg­ers, chicken fin­gers, French fries and some sand­wiches don’t re­quire uten­sils.

9) Re­mem­ber, when you eat, take small bites of your food. This way, you won’t chew with your mouth open, and you won’t cre­ate a mess.

10) At restau­rants or even at home, re­mem­ber to take small sips of milk or wa­ter. Avoind gulp­ing it down. Help­ing you child adopt the right din­ing eti­quette plays a very im­por­tant role in mould­ing his per­son­al­ity and groom­ing him for the fu­ture. This is pre­cisely why you should lead by ex­am­ple and pave the way for a much-needed life skill.

Zohra Chi­tal­wala is the founder and di­rec­tor of Image2I­mage Con­sul­ta­tion on groom­ing, ap­pear­ance, be­hav­iour and com­mu­ni­ca­tion skills. From hair care, skin­care, beauty, fit­ness and fash­ion, Zohra Chi­tal­wala uses in­no­va­tive meth­ods to en­hance an...

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