Parents all over the country are ending another school year; acutely aware how fast their kids are growing up. Some newly in the nest, some in the middle, and some getting ready to leave. Between Giovanni and I, we’ll have two in middle school and two in high school. With these ages and changes comes sleepless nights; worrying about the things you can’t forget to teach them before they grow up and move out.

I have a laundry list of topics that I want to cover; how to pump gas, how to greet people, table manners, all manners, how to treat a lady, how to be treated by a gentleman, how to treat your teachers, a boss.

I’m often saying to the kids, “Did I ever tell you how to make a collect call? Did I show you how to write a professional email? Did I teach you how to..?”; the list goes on. At night I’ll jot down notes of things I want to tell them about life, manners, and graciousness.

Here are 8 dining out tips I’m loving right now. Read these to your kids on the drive to school, when you are cooking, folding laundry, or anytime you get a chance. Before you know it you’ll have covered the topics that keeps us, parents, up at night.

8 Dining Out Tips

1. Why do people pass me the salt and pepper when I only asked for the salt?

  • Think of them as married, they go together.

2. Can I stack my plates at the table?

  • Do not stack your plates at the table, even if you think you are helping. Allow your server to stack if they choose to do so.

3. Can I reapply lipstick at the table?

  • General rule of etiquette suggests you excuse yourself to the ladies room to apply your lipstick.

4. Can I re-apply makeup at the table?

  • Do not apply makeup at the table. Do not use a compact mirror, face powder, blush, eyeliner, lip-liner, lip brush, lipstick, lip gloss, etc., at the table.
  • Do not use a cell phone, knife, spoon, creamer, or any other shiny apparatus as a reflective device to apply makeup.

5. Can I put my paper napkin up on my plate when I am done?

  • Place your paper napkin to the left of your plate when you are finished, just as you would with a cloth napkin.

6. What do I do with my napkin if I need to excuse myself from the table?

  • If you are excusing yourself:
    • Place your napkin on your seat, soiled side up.
  • If you are finished:
    • Place your napkin unfolded to the left of your plate, soiled side down.

7. Can I reach over and take food off a friends plate?

  • If you are sharing your meal, request a small plate to transfer food.

8. Do I have to take off my baseball cap at the table?

  • Men remove their caps at the dining table, at home, and in public.

Parents, in the comments below, tell me what words of wisdom you’d like to share? I’d love to add it to our list!:)

With all my love,



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