Ettiquette for Kids
April 3, 2012, 8:37 AM
Filed under: etiquette, Life style

Have you ever been somewhere that you have seen children who are so well-behaved, you wonder how does that mom do it?  Or the reverse is probably more memorable, a child or several children are COMPLETELY out of control, rolling on the floor, full on temper tantrum, screaming at the top of their lungs, and the parent seemingly doing nothing about it.  Well, I first try to remember that I know nothing of what preceded that event or what is going on in that person’s life.  I have no context in which to properly analyze the situation.  Second, here are some helpful hints I found.  Some may be common sense, others are so simple that it seems we should have tried this before.  I hope it helps all those moms, aunts, grandmoms, and caretakers out there.

1.    Eat, Sleep & Be Merry. A hungry stomach or a tired body is a recipe for holiday party disaster.  Schedules tend to be packed during the holiday season leaving little or no downtime for children to recharge their batteries.  Avoid any pitfalls by making sure your children get plenty of rest and eat a light snack before attending any holiday celebration.

2.   Dress for Party Success.   Encourage your children to dress appropriately for the occasion.  If your family is attending a party at a ski chalet then a pair of clean jeans, a parka and Uggs will suffice.  However, if the holiday gathering is a more formal affair then party attire, in the form of a dress or a nice pant suit, is a wise choice.

3.   On the Road.  On your way to the party, make sure to review any rules such as the type of holiday party you will be celebrating, who will be attending, what kind of food will be served, and any special activities your children may be asked to participate in.

4.    Arrive on Time & Bearing Gifts. Your hosts are looking forward to your arrival so avoid being late and make preparations ahead of time.  Lay out the children’s suggested attire beforehand, make sure all gifts are wrapped and a proper note has been written, map out your route and write down a contact phone number in case of an emergency. 

5.”Finger licking good” is just an expression. Children (and adults) should not lick their fingers, the knife or any other body part while enjoying the holiday meal.

6.  Never ask for ketchup at the holiday meal unless it is already on the table. That also goes for any other condiment or spice. If your host thought you needed extra gravy it would be in a gravy boat on the table.

7.   Essential Holiday Table Manners.  (a) Wait to be seated until everyone has arrived at the table.  (b) Follow the lead of your host or hostess for everything.  (c) Place your napkin on your lap.  (d) Pass all trays of food to the right and all condiments in pairs.  (e) Make pleasant table conversation with the person on your right and your left. (f) Chew with your mouth closed.  (g) Wipe your mouth before taking a drink.   (h) At the end of the meal, place your utensils in the finished position on your plate and your napkin loosely on the left side of your plate. (i) Ask to please be excused.

8.  Don’t overload your plate. Often, children’s eyes are bigger than their stomachs and taking just a bit of everything rather than a large amount of everything is both courteous and appropriate.

9.    Clean-Up & Be Invited Again.   If you are attending a sit down dinner celebration with family or with friends, offer to pitch in.  Teach your child to offer to take his or her plate to the kitchen. The host may refuse the kindness, but it is a nice gesture and a good habit to get into.  This will guarantee future invitations.

10.    Gracious Gift Receiving.  Teach children to graciously accept all gifts whether they already have them or not.  Focus on something positive to say.  For example, if they do not like a gift, they don’t need to say they do.  They can simply say “thank you” or “that was so nice of you”.  Tell them that being polite pays dividends.

11.    Departures.   Designate an agreed upon beginning and end time with your family to prevent any potential major meltdowns when it comes time to leave the house or return from a party.

12.   Thank You, Thank You, Thank You! A phone call or, better yet, a hand-written note of thanks to your holiday party hosts shows your appreciation for all their hard work.  If you’ve thanked someone in person for a gift, a thank-you note isn’t obligatory. But, it is never wrong to write a thank-you note. If you receive gifts from family members that you won’t see to thank in person, write them a thank-you note—both to let them know their gift arrived and that you liked it.


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