Teaching Children Holiday Etiquette – The holiday season is here – are you children on their best behavior? I don’t mean for Santa Claus, I’m talking about teaching children holiday etiquette for Christmas parties, social engagements, blended family visits, etc….
Kim Gayton, owner of Kimberella Parties, is contributing this column for our readers. Her background and specialties makes her an expert on the subject of children’s etiquette. With the holidays upon us, there’s no better time to learn these lifelong etiquette skills. Here’s the advice she has to offer in regards to teaching holiday etiquette to children…
Kim of Kimberella Parties has been hosting children’s Tea parties and birthday parties for 8 years now and has found a common denominator to every party… If the children are dressed up and treated like young sophisticated little people, then they will play the part.
The etiquette tone you set will carry through the entire meal. Think back to your younger years and remember having tea parties of your own and remember how your better behavior kicked in immediately. There is something about being dressed up that brings the best out of us.
It will take a little work on your part to set the scene. Make it inviting and completely different from their everyday dinner setting. I have been using “real” china at my parties and have had very few casualties-I think the staff has broken more than the children. Don’t forget the linen and a fun centerpiece. Just because they are little people doesn’t mean you should forgo the chance to “wow,” your little guests also. Set place cards at each setting to get them excited about finding their spots.
Once the kids are seated, get their attention and go over some etiquette rules before they are served. As soon as everyone is settled, have them unfold their napkins and place them on their lap. As you’re doing this, ask them to raise their hand if they know why we place the napkin on our laps. Allowing them to give their feedback draws their attention to you and captures their curiosity for the remainder of the etiquette lessons. Some kids will give you some crazy answers, but never make them feel like they are wrong; this will discourage their participation and give them an opportunity to sabotage your hard work by being negative.
Kids love to share what they already know, at this time you can ask them to raise their hands if they know of any etiquette manners they can tell the group. Now you truly have captured their attention and you should see lots of hands raised. You will hear “please and thank you,” don’t chew with your mouth open, no slurping, don’t talk with food in your mouth, no burping at the table, no taking someone else’s food, may I please have, no picking your nose…
You will hear some really silly things that they hear at their own dinner table. After they have exhausted their manners and etiquette you can teach them some new manners and etiquette that maybe they have forgotten or never learned.
Teaching Children Holiday Etiquette – Don’ts
- Start eating until everyone at the table is served
- Interrupt someone when they are speaking
- Get up from the table unless you are excused
- No reaching over someone’s plate- kindly ask them to pass what you were reaching for
- No elbows on the table (we don’t want to see
- Anyone hunched over their food)
- Don’t make rude comments about the food it could hurt someone’s feelings
- When being offered something that you do not like- don’t be rude and say “yuck, I don’t like that'” kindly say no thank you.
- Don’t pick anything out of your teeth
- No licking of fingers
- No blowing nose at the table
Once you have finished with all of this, you can excuse yourself by telling them that it’s time for you go to their parents table to check on how well they remembered their etiquette. You can also let them know there will be an award for the individuals that display the best manners and etiquette. This will keep them on their toes. Let them know you are watching them.
Kimberella Parties specializes in themed parties for girls and boys of all ages. Kimberella Parties offers full service hosted parties that include all the detail planning, invitations, extravagant table set-up and decor, personalized birthday party favors, delectable cakes and goodies, photography, characters, and so much more.
See related posts for more info on teaching children holiday etiquette.