Princess A is very independent toddler and rarely lets me feed her. She doesn’t mind getting messy as long as she gets to feed herself. She tries using a spoon for things like yogurt and applesauce but gets frustrated and throws it on the ground. For now her eating habits are cute but I am wondering when is a child capable of having good table manners? When should you start teaching children that they can’t put yogurt in their hair ect.?

I don’t believe in pushing my child to do something before she is ready but I also don’t want give up on teaching her manners. I have looked at a couple of parenting books and I have come up empty-handed.

Do any of my veteran mom readers out there have opinions or tips on this issues? My mop and vacuum thank you in advance for the potential vacation!

Stay Glamorous,

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17 Responses to “TODDLER TABLE MANNERS?”

  1. Jacqui Rose April 27, 2012 at 1:24 PM #

    As a mom of a thre year old and after working in childcare with one year olds for several years, in my opinion it works best if you give them a spoon and you keep a spoon to feed them with. That way they feel independent but they are not getting upset for the reason that they are eating because you are feeding them. They will learn, it takes time but it is possible for toddlers to have manners.

  2. Jordan April 27, 2012 at 1:27 PM #

    I think it’s something they just grow out of. Rayne is much better at feeding herself now, she even refuses to sit in a high chair and joins us at the table. But she still gets it all over her face, the floor and in her hair. Eventually they’ll understand the importance of table manners and putting food in their hair wont be as appealing. It doesn’t hurt to gently try to tell them “No, food goes in your mouth, not your hair”, But unless you have a very well behaved toddler, you’ll probably have to wait until they naturally grow out of it. Which probably wont be too long. But that’s just my guess/opinion. I’ve only been a mom for 2 years so I don’t know for sure. I hope you find an answer you’re looking for! 🙂

    • Shannon April 27, 2012 at 6:45 PM #

      Thanks Jordan she seems to really want to use utensils and be meet she just can’t get the spoon in her mouth although she is very good at getting it in her eye lol. Hopefully she will grow out of it when her motor skills are more fine tuned.

      • Jordan April 27, 2012 at 8:02 PM #

        She definitely will. When we see them every day of their life and see them grow and learn, we tend to forget they’ve only been alive for such a short amount of time. A lot of things will take time for them to get the hang of. I bet she’ll get the hang of things in no time.

  3. Karen Dent April 27, 2012 at 1:45 PM #

    Katelyn was horribly messy eater, and now she is very big on being polite and using manners at the table. I think just watching how you eat etc…she will want to be “like Mom” and just adopt your mannerisms. David on the other hand, well lets just say there is a reason our dog always sat by him. He is now 8.5 yrs and as messy as ever (although he doesn’t put food in his hair anymore).
    I started trying to teach manners right from the start. Things like please and thank you I started with before they could even talk. Just to get them used to the idea. I would always give them a spoon or fork to eat with and would try to show them how to use it without taking away the independence of eating by themselves. If they really started to go to town with making a mess and were not really eating anymore I would then take their food away and say “all done?” If they were trying to rub it into their hair etc…I would simply say “no no, you need to eat your food.” Sometimes I would take it away, and then give it back to try again.

  4. Camilla (@Gamolie) April 27, 2012 at 4:11 PM #

    I honestly don’t think I ever really did correct it, they all just outgrew it as they learned by example, and as their fine motor skills improved using the utensils. In the meantime, it always made for adorable photos like these. 🙂

    • Shannon April 27, 2012 at 6:40 PM #

      Yes I love the cute pics. We eat at the table with Amelia for meals so maybe she will learn by example.

  5. Melissa April 27, 2012 at 7:47 PM #

    I’m not sure exactly what I did to make it better. He naturally didn’t like to be messy. He wouldn’t even finger paint, he had to use a brush.

    • Shannon April 27, 2012 at 8:36 PM #

      Princess A already likes to cover herself in paint… I am in trouble lol

  6. Melissa April 27, 2012 at 7:48 PM #

    Oh yeah, I burst out laughing at your title. I’m not sure I ever saw a toddler with table manners!

  7. Jess April 27, 2012 at 11:05 PM #

    Warren has been using utensils since he was about 2-2 1/2. He has amazing table manners, I never hesitate to take him anywhere. She’ll grow out of it and learn to imitate you. I do miss the fun pictures. I have some amazing ones with spaghetti all over his face, huge smile, always fun.

    • Shannon April 27, 2012 at 11:27 PM #

      Spaghetti is the best to feed toddlers!!!!!

  8. Amy Patrick May 1, 2012 at 8:25 AM #

    Sadie is still a bit messy, but her manners are good. Here is what I think works. Yogurt and stuff like are good for home, but when you go out for meals do yogurt melts, freeze dried fruit, and Cheerios. Then give small amounts from your plate. Less mess and they still get the practice of restaurants. We have been taking Sadie out to eat since she was 3 months old. I believe, for me, you can only learn manners of any kind by going places and work on their behavior in the real situation. We’ve ad to leave places, gives time outs, etc. but, now Sadie can go see movies, Broadway plays, and other events because she understands the etiquette in all situations. And, we’re a busy city family who goes out to eat at least 2X a week and also go to events. Giving Sadiethe experience, correcting her behavior, and teaching are the keys to this slow process.

    • Shannon May 1, 2012 at 8:44 AM #

      Thanks for the advice Amy. it’s good to get tops from a fellow nyc mom

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