Why Table Manners Matter for Preschoolers

Amidst the chaos of early childhood, it might seem inconsequential to focus on table manners, but the truth is that instilling good manners at the dining table is one of the first steps in developing life skills.

The Playground of Life Skills

Life skills, those little superheroes of development, have a secret hideout in everyday activities. From donning clothes to washing hands and sharing toys, these skills lay the foundation for independence, self-reliance, cooperation, problem solving and conflict resolution. Life skills are integral to the developmental milestones for preschoolers. They can be fun to learn as well!

These foundational skills encompass a range of activities, from speaking politely and taking turns to clearing toys and understanding basic etiquette. Cultivating these skills plays a pivotal role in promoting physical, emotional and social development in children. Mastering each of these phases of growth can be a reason to celebrate with your child and make them feel good about their accomplishments.

Why All the Fuss About Table Manners?

Table manners are not just about keeping elbows off tables and using napkins. Teaching preschoolers the basics of dining etiquette sets the stage for broader life skills, laying a solid foundation for their future social interactions and personal development.

Social Interaction

Learning to sit at a table, share a meal, and engage in conversation with others is an essential social skill. Table manners instil respect for others and the importance of taking turns, contributing to the development of healthy and happy relationships.


Table manners can help develop self-control

The structured environment of a dining table provides an ideal setting for teaching self-control. From waiting their turn to resisting the temptation to grab the tastiest morsel first, children learn the importance of patience and discipline. It can also make mealtime more enjoyable and peaceful!


Table conversations offer a platform for children to practise effective communication. Encouraging them to express their preferences and feelings while respecting others’ opinions contributes to developing strong verbal communication skills.


Clearing the table after meals teaches children the value of responsibility. It’s a simple yet effective way to get children to clean up after themselves and recycle and reuse, fostering a sense of accountability for their actions.

Cultural Awareness

Sitting at the table and eating and drinking introduces children to cultural norms related to dining. Understanding these nuances from a young age helps children develop cultural sensitivity and broadens their perspective on diversity.

Tips for Parents to Reinforce Table Manners at Home

To give your child a head start in their development process, here are five tips to develop good dining habits at home:

Lead by Example

Children are keen observers. Demonstrate good table manners in your own behaviour, as they are more likely to emulate what they see.

Consistent Reinforcement

Consistency is key when teaching any skill. Reinforce the importance of table manners consistently, and praise your child when they exhibit good behaviours.

Make it Fun!

Learning is most effective when it’s enjoyable. Turn mealtime into a positive experience by incorporating games and creating a pleasant atmosphere.

Engage in Conversations

Encourage your child to share their thoughts and experiences during meals. This enhances their communication skills and creates a positive association with dining.

Involve Them in Cleanup and Recycling

Teach your child to clear their plate and clean up after meals, including the recycling process. As part of our commitment to a well-rounded education, we emphasise the 3Rs – reduce, reuse, and recycle. We focus on waste separation, recycling initiatives, and teaching children the concept of conserving our natural resources.

Integrating Table Manners into Preschool Education

At Noddy by Elizabeth, we recognise the pivotal role of table manners in the holistic development of preschoolers. Our international nursery in Bangkok seamlessly integrates these lessons into the curriculum, recognising that they are the stepping stones to broader life skills. We employ a child-led learning approach that nurtures curiosity, encourages risk-taking, and enhances problem-solving abilities. A friendly, warm, fun and conducive environment is created by our caring teachers who are dedicated to nurturing a love of learning in every child.

Table manners are the gateway to a broader spectrum of life skills for preschoolers. By focusing on this seemingly minor aspect, parents and educators lay the groundwork for children to develop into socially adept, responsible, and well-rounded individuals. To witness firsthand how preschoolers at Noddy by Elizabeth enjoy learning these basic life skills through play and interaction, please feel free to book a school tour today.