Children showing respect in a restaurant

eating at restaurantAnyone that has been a part of Balanced Life Skills for any length of time has no doubt heard me talk about showing respect in a restaurant.  We have had that discussion so many times, so with respect being our word of the month it is a perfect time to remind our young students of what respect looks like when we are at the dinner table or especially eating out in a public place no matter if it is fine dining or a fast food facility.

We know all of the rules of manners – keeping your mouth closed when you chew, elbows off the table, using your flatware properly, not putting too much in your mouth, napkin in  your lap and the list goes on.  Keeping our voice down, asking for items to be passed to us, using nice words when speaking to our host or waiter, showing appreciation for the food we have been provided.  Not complaining about what is being served, or demanding when being hosted.

The one thing that gets me the most though is showing respect for all at the table and to those dining with us if we are at a restaurant is our ability to stay seated until the appropriate time for leaving the table as a group.  How often I have observed young children allowed to get up before, during and after a meal – running around the table, visiting others at the table, playing on the floor, chasing each other, talking loudly, or even watching a movie on their I-pad without ear phones – all while others are trying to dine in peace and quiet with their loved ones.

This may just be a personal peeve.  But showing respect by sitting respectfully, demonstrating an interest in what is happening at the table, listening to the conversation, taking part when appropriate, and not using electronic devices to entertain is all a part of learning manners in a restaurant or at home at the dinner table.  Respect is the behavior that shows that we value others and property.  In this case, we are showing we value the food we are being served, the people we are with and the rights that others have to enjoy the same with their family and friends.

Respect, the behaviors that we recognize as respect are all based on what we value.  Helping our children and students value people, things and the rights of others is all part of our responsibility as parents and teachers.  In fact, setting a good example is one way of teaching these behaviors.   We start by creating expectations that we live up to in our family.