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Teaching table manners special needs social story, good manners, dinner manners, restaurant, dining etiquette at One Place for Special Needs

Mind your manners! Teaching table manners

Parents expect good manners at the dinner table. It’s important to practice good manners so you know what to do when you are invited to eat at a friend’s house. Your friend’s parents will want to invite you back again if you are polite and not a slob.  Here are some tips for not being a yucky eater.

by Dawn Villarreal, One Place for Special Needs


Yucky eating #1 Talking with food in your mouthspaghetti kid iStock
Don’t talk with your mouth full of food. Don’t let food fall out of your mouth. Don’t take bites so big that food is hanging out of your mouth.
That’s yucky eating!

But you can take small bites of food. And you can eat with your mouth closed.
That’s good table manners!

Yucky eating #2 Eating food with your fingers
Don’t pick up spaghetti noodles with your fingers and stuff them in your mouth. Don’t use your soup bowl as a cup and slurp your soup up like a drink. Don’t grab food with your hands and then put it back on a serving plate.
That’s yucky eating!

But you can use your fork, knife and spoon to eat. You can use serving utensils to pick up food or ask for help.
That’s good table manners!

Yucky eating #3 Burping and farting
Don’t burp loudly at the dinner table. Don’t let out a fart while you are eating with others.
That’s yucky eating!

But you can burp quietly and say excuse me. And you can excuse yourself to the bathroom if you need to fart.
That’s good table manners!

Yucky eating #4 Not using your napkin
Don’t wipe your mouth with your hands or sleeve. Don’t rub your messy hands on your clothes or in your hair.
That’s yucky eating!

But you can use a napkin to wipe your mouth. And you can excuse yourself to go to the bathroom and wash your hands.
That’s good table manners!


Here are some extra good manners that parents like:

If you can’t reach the ketchup or a plate of food on the table, ask the person next to you if they can pass it.
You can say: “Can you please pass the mashed potatoes?”

Ask to be excused when you are done eating instead of leaving the table without saying anything. 
You can say: “I’m done eating.  Can I be excused?”

When you are done eating, pick up your plate, utensils and glass. Put them in the sink. If it’s a paper plate, you can put it in the garbage can.

If you can learn these good dinner table manners, your family and friend’s family will be proud of you.

More reading:

Mind your Manners: Teaching Body Manners
Mind your Manners: Teaching Things we do in Private
Phone Smarts: It's Personal


Dawn VillarrealAbout the writer

Dawn Villarreal runs One Place for Special Needs, a national disability resource that lets you find local and online resources, events and even other families in your neighborhood plus thousands of online disability resources! Stay awhile and check out the site. She is also moderator of Autism Community Connection, a Yahoo group for families in Illinois. Reprint permission granted by including: Reprinted with permission from One Place for Special Needs