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How To Teach Your Child To Eat With Their Mouth Closed

By Devan McGuinness |

When I shared last week an open letter to my fellow parents, I wasn’t playing around. It is one of the biggest manner rules that I think should be followed. It’s more important than thank you notes, the reciprocal ”how are you” and it’s certainly something that can easily be taught.

A few weeks ago I was out with my toddler and in an area with a lot of children — this is actually what spawned my rant last week. It was lunch time and a six year old boy sat down with his lunch as my daughter ( 3-years old) sat down with ours.

It was disgusting. I was shocked. I lost my appetite as this 6-year old slapped his food like I have never heard. & never want to hear ever again. It was so gross I think I may be permanently scared by it (okay, I’m exaggerating…. maybe).

A six year old should know better (neuro-typical, able-bodied) and it really isn’t hard to enforce just how important this manner is — unless it’s not important to you (it really should be).

Click through for 3 easy ways to teach your child to eat with their mouth closed:

1) Sit down to eat:

Really before your child even starts eating real food themselves, they will be watching you. Make sure you’re not one of the people who eat with your mouth open. Let them sit and watch you eat properly. I mean, you probably eat more than 3 times a day if you’re an average person — that’s a lot of opportunity for modelling correct eating etiquette.

2) Let them know:

Point out to them the manners that are important when you’re eating. Tell them that it’s rude to eat with your mouth open and no one should hear you eating — unless it’s something crunchy and you can’t really help it.

3) Reinforce it:

If your child starts eating with their mouth open, tell them to stop. Tell them again if they do it again. You can do this gently and it doesn’t have to be a totally negative thing. If you are noticing they are doing it a lot, encourage them to take smaller bites and slow down.

See, not hard. Please put it into practice :)

Read more from  on Accustomed ChaosUnspoken Grief
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About Devan McGuinness


Devan McGuinness

Devan McGuinness is the writer of the lifestyle blog Accustomed Chaos. After surviving 12 miscarriages, Devan founded Unspoken Grief, a resource and support site for perinatal and neonatal loss. Read bio and latest posts → Read Devan's latest posts →

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2 thoughts on “How To Teach Your Child To Eat With Their Mouth Closed

  1. Jill says:

    And another easy way to teach this is by using lovelymanners placemats! For polite kids of all ages! See’s product review at
    And see all the lovely placemats with lovely manners at! :)

  2. Jay says:

    My niece (9yo) and nephew (7yo), ugh…
    They both chew with their mouths open making slurping and smacking sounds. I first thought they were exaggerating these sounds to be funny, I only wish. This is really how they chew. My husband brought to my attention that my sister (their mother) chews in a similar way (but not as obnoxiously). Do I tell them to chew with their mouths closed or do I mention it to my sister?
    The awful thing is that my niece has started sleeping over some nights and we have dinner together. I’m not sure if I can continue with this unless there is some serious behavior modification. I find it repulsive, no, that’s an understatement…
    Should I just leave the room and eat in a different location until she’s finished? That would be weird and it would go against the whole point of spending time with her. Any suggestions?

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