With the holiday's firmly at our heals it's time to begin refreshing manners for the children in our lives. For those parents, and guardians of little ones you know the pressure that accompanies making sure your child is well behaved for the myriad of social events you are sure to be invited to during the Holiday Season. The holidays are a perfect time to reinforce the skills you've hopefully been instilling all year long. For those of you who may have been a little lax during the year due to life itself allow me to give you a few pointers for a gracious Holiday Season.
1. Begin weaning children off tablets, and cellphones: Beginning the weaning process of technology gets children in the mood to be more social. A great way to do this is to make it fun, family game nights, night time reading, allowing children to help make their breakfast and pack their own lunch for school keeps them active instead of bored. This sets the tone for a people oriented demeanor and the presence of people and doing things with people wont come off as a punishment but normality. (Feel free to do this all year long)
2. Resume Family Dinners at home: Before you begin to leave comments about modern times and being too busy. Allow me to serve you a cup of Chamomile tea to calm yourself and keep reading. Daily family meals together is a bit of a challenge I understand, with mom and dad both working and getting off at different times I understand completely were not living in a world with stay at home moms and Dads who get home at 5pm. When I say family meals I mean having the children in your life sit down to eat at a dinner table when possible without the tv on, and without tablets, and cellphones. Even if they only have their siblings to sit with at least they are getting practice sitting down for a meal with people without distractions.
3. Teach your children to set a proper table: I have been tricking little ones into taking ownership of the dining experience for years, by allowing them to help me set the table. Having the children in your life learn to set the table properly is probably one of the foundational pieces of the etiquette and manner puzzle. By allowing children to help set the table you are instilling a sense of pride in them to behave more responsibly. During this time you should allow them to handle items that require more care and teach them the difference between plastic items and fine china. This is also the perfect beginning to the next tip.
4. Practice Basic Dining Manners:
Wash you hands before a meal
Sit down, napkin on your lap
Eat with your mouth closed
Elbows off the table
Use your inside voice, and then bring it down two notches more
Pass the salt and pepper together
Don't play with your food
Practice "May I" statements ( to weed out rude request) etc...
5. Prepare them to be little host/hostess: During the gathering allow the children to greet the guest, take their coats, and show them in with you. Children learn social skills at home, if they are always cast aside tot he playroom to mingle with their peers how will they see the social intercourse at it happens from the very people who they look up to. The greeting at the door is a great way to allow children to take on a sense of ownership and pride in welcoming guest and caring for them.
To learn more or enroll your little one in an etiquette course visit our children etiquette course offerings.