Even though birthday celebrations are usually pure fun, there is no harm in sneaking in a few educational tips as well. While you are planning your kid’s birthday cuisine remember that it is an ideal time to teach them about table manners. Though you do not want to sermonize while the kids are having fun, create situations where the kids automatically choose the correct eating method.
A few helpful tips:
- Keep napkins – No matter what age group you are entertaining, always keep several cloth or paper napkins. Encourage the children to use these napkins to keep their fingers clean. While serving the food keep asking them to feel free to ask for more napkins if needed. If the kids are very young, show them how to use the napkins and then dispose them off in the bin.
- Small bites – One should not bite off more than one can chew. Make sure the food portions are proportionate to the age of the guests. If very young kids are being served, keep the food serving portion small enough to fit into their grip. Ask them to take small bites and chew the food thoroughly all the while explaining how it helps in digestion.
- Wait for everyone to be served – When serving the kids ask them to wait until all the children have been served and then start eating. If you want, you could call the children to the table only once all the plates have been pre served with food.
- Do not overfill the plate - If the system of serving is a buffet style remind the kids to serve small portions since they can always come back for seconds. Over serving one’s plate not only signifies greed but also causes spillovers.
- Encourage cutlery usage – Depending on the age group that you are catering to provide either plastic spoons or even regular cutlery if you so wish. Show the children how to use it and boost their moral when they attempt to do so.
- Thank you – Teaching children how to be polite and say thank you when they are served is very important. If you are serving the kids, then gently ask them to thank you each time. On the other hand, if you are in a restaurant where you have a server doing the job then it is necessary to ask the children to be grateful for being served and express it to the server
- Leaning over – When you find a child leaning over another guest’s plate to get something, gently pass it to him/her adding that it is considered bad manners to lean over someone else’s plate.
- Avoid bad remarks on the food – Children are usually upfront about their likes and dislikes and might makes faces or pass rude comments at food that is not liked by them. In such a case, try telling them that a lot of effort has gone into preparing the food and one should refrain from such a critical analysis of the preparation.
- Chew with your mouth closed – Children in the excitement of the party tend to chew with their mouth open or worse still talk while they have food in their mouth. Telling them why they should keep their mouth closed while eating and making a funny story around it will get their attention quickly.