You're sitting down to eat, when you look up and your child is displaying the worst manners imaginable. It's bad enough when this happens at home, never mind when you're in the middle of a crowded restuarant.
New research has revealed that nearly half of UK mums and dads admit to being embarrassed by their youngsters when dining out and one in five have left a restaurant mid-way through a meal because of their kids behaving badly.
In a poll of 2,000 parents with children aged five to ten, conducted by The Kensington Hotel, worrying about how their tots will behave in restaurants is the biggest cause for stress for nearly a third of parents.
Over a third cite eating with their mouths closed is the hardest table manner for their children to grasp. This was closely followed by sitting throughout the meal and keeping the elbows off the table.
Etiquette and manners expert, Jean Broke-Smith, says: "They say that 'manners maketh the man' but I'm a great believer in the same being true for children as well. If you take time to teach your children table manners while at home, you'll find dining out a much more pleasurable experience and can hopefully avoid those streesful confrontations.
"Whether you are enjoying a decadent afternoon tea or a three course dinner, these tips will stand you in good stead and help your children to grow into polite adults."
Jean’s tops tips for teaching tots table manners:
1. Posture and appearance
· When sitting at the table, press the small of the back into the base of the chair and keep elbows off the table
· Encourage children to eat with their mouth closed and not to speak whilst eating. Try to come up with a simple gesture, such as closing your fingers in front of your lips, to remind them
2. At meal times
· It is bad manners to wave or point utensils. Use the left hand to hold a fork or spoon and the right to hold a knife. Ask the restaurant if they supply child size knives and forks to make it easier
· Ask your children what they would prefer to eat to save them making a fuss if given something they don’t like. Make sure they eat everything on their plate so they learn to eat the right amount of food and not be wasteful
3. Dining dos and don’ts
· Shouting and squabbling amongst siblings is definitely not for the dining table! Meal times are for quiet conversation so choose another time of the day when it’s ok for them to be noisy as a compromise
· Remove all electronic games and mobile phones as these are very distracting and rude to others at the table
· Instil in youngsters the need to be respectful at all times to restaurant staff. Please and thank you are most important words!
The Kensington Hotel, a member of The Doyle Collection, will be hosting one hour complimentary classes on 12th and 19th November to teach children aged between five and ten a few basic table manners.
Places are limited so please contact the hotel to reserve a place. The classes will then be hosted on a more regular basis during school half terms and holidays subject to demand. Please note - children must be supervised by a parent or guardian at all time.
For more information about the classes please call The Kensington Hotel on 020 7589 6300 or visit www.doylecollection.com/kensington