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How to Nurture a Heart For Learning in Your Child-Table Manners

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how to nurture a heart for learning in your childBasic table manners are skills that preschoolers can possess. Of course it is always a good idea to teach kids things in a way that they are leaning without realizing it. For this reason, we read this poem to even our youngest ones at the table frequently. Then, we can reference the poor manners of the Goops whenever we see bad manners surface.

Of course the kids think the poem is funny…at least until we remind them that they are looking a bit like a Goop! Here is the poem we read.

The Goops


The Goops they lick their fingers,

And the Goops they lick their knives.

They spill their broth on the table cloth—

Oh, they lead disgusting lives!

The Goops they talk while eating

And loud and fast they chew.

And that is why I’m glad that I 

Am not a Goop—are you?

The Goops are gluttonous and rune,

They guy and grumble with their food.

They throw their crumbs upon the floor

And at dessert they tease for more.

They will not eat their soup and bread

But like to gobble sweets instead.

And this is why I oft decline,

When I am asked to stay and dine.


By the time my kids are three years old, these are the table manners we require:

  • use please and thank you, always
  • use utensils correctly
  • use napkin correctly
  • lean over plate/bowl
  • no slurping
  • no talking with mouth full
  • speak in quiet voice
  • try new foods without complaining
  • be pleasant at the table, no whining or yelling
  • wait to be excused
  • use the bathroom before the meal to avoid leaving the table
  • clear dishes when finished

Of course they do not always get these all right and also need plenty of reminding, but these are table manners we feel are reasonable and beneficial to everyone else at the table. We do often remind them of the Goops if needed, and we do plenty of training to make sure the expectations are understood.

Learning basic table manners is an important part of giving preschoolers a love for learning since all of life is a classroom, really. Manners are a way of learning, being mindful of others, building self-control, and following directions. It will make life pleasant for your family as well as those around you if you are not eating at home.

Taking the time to train your preschooler in simple table manners will be time well spent.

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