Mealtime Manners & Responsibilities...

~ Posted on Tuesday, November 8, 2011 at 9:42 AM ~

Welcome to the November Carnival of Natural Parenting: Kids in the Kitchen

This post was written for inclusion in the monthly Carnival of Natural Parenting hosted by Hobo Mama and Code Name: Mama. This month our participants have shared how kids get involved in cooking and feeding. Please read to the end to find a list of links to the other carnival participants.

As a parent, of course we would want our child to display good manners at all times. My MIL likes to say that whenever someone sees a child misbehaving, it will always fall on the mother's responsibilities to teach the child good manners and people will always presume that it is the mother who is not teaching the child properly (sigh!*)

So anyway, for this month's "Carnival of Natural Parenting", I would like to share with you guys how my husband and I teach and encourage our 32 months old son (his name is Benjamin) to adopt good manners and maintain his responsibilities during his mealtime. Now what we strives for Ben to continuously do this for his mealtimes are:

1. Pray before eat

Why? -This will teach Ben to appreciate his food and be grateful that he gets to eat everyday! Watch this YouTube video to see how Ben prays before he starts his meal. 

2. Wipe own hands and mouth if messy

Why? -This will teach Ben to maintain cleanliness at all time. I always have a wet handkerchief around me whenever Ben eats. And I'll try as much as I can to remind Ben to wipe his own hands and mouth when it gets messy - of course there are times, I just rush in and clean up for him, but yes, I do try to get him to do it himself as much as he can.

3. Saying 'Please' and 'Thank You' when he wants and get something

Why? -This will teach Ben to ask for something he wants instead of expecting things to be 'spoon-fed' to him!  Watch this YouTube video to see Ben at 19 months, learning to say 'Please'

4. Buckle up for Safety!

Why? -This is so that Ben always remembers safety is a must regardless where he is at. Watch this YouTube video to see Ben at 20 months, learning to buckle up the safety strap when he sits in his high chair. Before he learned to buckle the safety strap himself, he will often reminds us to buckle him up - even in his car seat!

5. To put the empty plate and cutlery into the sink

Why? -I'd want him to take on a more 'big boy' role by doing this and also wants him to feel that mummy and daddy trust him to do bigger tasks. Plus it does ease my workload now that he is doing this! I have just recently started teaching Ben to put his plate and spoon into the sink once he has finished his meal. So far so good!

So how about you?

What mealtime manners and responsibilities that you are trying to instil on your child?

Comments (15) -


Great job Jenny!!  We work on similar things with our girls - Sophie is out of her booster, but Bella is still in one, although we don't buckle her in.


This is wonderful. I think I'm going to read it with my daughter tomorrow. I think she'll want to do what Benjamin does if she sees him.
The videos are so sweet!
You also helped me realize that I'm not expecting enough of my daughter. She's a bit older and I never ask her to put her things in the sink.
thanks for sharing your great ideas.

Jenny @ I'm a full-time mummy

Hey Aurie!
Good to hear that! Do share with me if you have any approaches or mealtime manners you practiced with your girls! Smile

Hi Teresa!
Thank you! I'm still lacking in lots of things, but we've got to start somewhere! Putting the plates and cutlery into the sink was just started not long ago and still need lots of reminding and guiding. Do let me know if any of the approaches above works for your girl! Smile


1. No shaking legs while having a meal
2. Wash hands before eating
3. Don't waste food

It has been a while not hoping at ur site.

Jenny @ I'm a full-time mummy

Hi Angeline!
Oh, shaking legs definitely not yet, I'm having more troubles getting Ben to sit still on his chair! As for food wasting, so far, the amount I make is just nice for him. Thanks for sharing your list! Smile

Lauren @ Hobo Mama

I love that he's learning to clean himself up — that's something I've been appreciating, too. And it's funny about the straps — since my son's four, I don't worry about them as much anymore, but he still insists on doing them up for himself! Smile

Miki Chua

wow... ur boy really very good boy lo...
i now wanna trains potty also susah... he keeps telling me "scared" ish ish

Dionna @ Code Name: Mama

Kieran has always been a very clean-loving child (ahem - I wonder where he got that from!), so he regularly asks for a wipe during meals. We're also asking him to bring in his plate/silverware after meals - it's nice to have his help!

Jenny @ I'm a full-time mummy

Hi Lauren!
Yes, it gets to the point that my boy gets really annoyed at the slightest dirt or slime/sticky feeling on his hands and he must wipes his hands whenever he's eating!

Hey Miki!
Good but still got lots of room for improvement! He cannot sit still wan leh.. every few seconds have to tell him to sit down... Foot

Hey Dionna!
Hahaha, good boy Kieran!

Charise @ I Thought I Knew Mama

I really like that you are teaching him to be grateful for his food!

Jenny @ I'm a full-time mummy

Hi Kayla!
Yes! Smile

Hi Charise!
Thanks for following my blog, I've returned the favor! Smile


The sitting still part is still an issue with us. my daughter is 4 and simply refuses to sit in a high chair. so now she sits in a regular chair with a KABOOST at the bottom to elevate her. we still have some work to do on the sitting still part.


Great ideas for teaching manners from an early age, it's so important to get into good habits from the start.

Kristin @ Intrepid Murmurings

Yep, we used our cloth wipes a TON when my girls were younger.  They were so messy!  They are starting to move to cloth napkins now, but we still need wet wipes for sticky hands a fair bit!  

My kids are 3.5 and 5.5 and we still struggle with the wiggles at the table.  I think it's really normal and pretty impossible for them to sit still for any length of time.  We try to keep them at the table, not getting up and down, though.   Love it that your son is so insistant about the buckling!  I actually took the straps off our high chairs at some point because my girls would buckle themselves at various times throughout the day and then get stuck there (they couldn't undo it).  They were old enough that it was more trouble than it was worth, haha!  

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