You asked

How can I teach my child to eat politely in front of others?

For most parents, just getting their children to remember their manners at home is a chore. The idea of having your child behave properly at someone else’s may seem like a completely foreign concept.

Of course, as your child gets older, there will be times when he or she will have to eat politely in someone else’s home, and there are ways to make sure that that happens.
The first step is preparedness. If you know you will be eating in someone else’s home, it’s important that you tell your child about it beforehand. If you don’t normally pray, but you think that they might, you may also want to explain that in their home, their family prays before eating.

You will also want to be sure that your child doesn’t criticise the food, and that he or she remembers to thank your hosts for the meal. A good way to ensure that this happens is to role play what will happen before hand. Set the table, and have your child sit with you. Go through the motions of what will happen, and what your child will do or say. Praise your child when he or she remembers something, and remind him or her gently when he or she doesn’t.

Of course, another big question is whether or not your child will eat. If the main dish that is being served is something your child doesn’t like, tell your child to take a little – not eating it is okay, but refusing would be rude. If it’s a side dish, then tell your child it’s okay to say no thank you.

Remember that most people do understand that children don’t have too fine a grasp on manners, so as long as your child remembers to try and be polite, and doesn’t throw food at the table, you should be okay.

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