Sunday, February 3, 2013

Teaching Etiquette to Kids

In preparing for an etiquette lesson for kids, we decided to observe them during lunch. What we discovered was astonishing and provided us with a lesson plan for a kids' luncheon activity on Saturday.

We noted amazing behaviors. One kiddo was sitting on his foot. Another crossed her legs and was swinging her foot all through lunch. Several youngsters either left their napkins on the table or let them fall to the floor. One little guy even blew his nose on his napkin.

An enthusiastic young girl talked loudly to a friend on her cell phone. Another was busy texting and only picked at her meal. Some children were repeatedly standing up and reaching across the table to grab rolls, butter and salt or pepper. One boy even scooped up butter with his spoon and seemed to enjoy licking it. No roll was needed for him!

Boy, did we have our work cut out for us! So, how did we prepare for the etiquette luncheon we had promised to do?

We polled the kiddos and found that they felt they were having a good time and would like to be invited to another yummy luncheon. With the knowledge that the next luncheon would be preceded by a fun etiquette lesson, every child signed the "I want to attend next Saturday" list.

There were three parts to the second session:

1. Introductions: Children were asked to stand up as we introduced them to an adult or to another participant. They practiced standing and looking that person in the eye, repeating the person's name as they were introduced. Next, kids were grouped by threes to practice the new skill.

2. Instructions: Then, kids were seated at the luncheon table and given these etiquette tips:
Don't cross your legs or sit on your foot at the table.
Never use your cell phone at the table. It insults both hosts and guests.
Place your napkin in your lap and never blow your nose on it.
Ask someone to pass you the butter or rolls. Do not reach across the table for them.

We answered some questions like what is the napkin for and proceeded to the third part of the lesson.

3. Table Settings: Each child was given silverware and shown how to place it beside the plate. Uses for each piece sparked a lively discussion among the kids. They just loved talking about eating food!

After lunch, the children were given a formal note paper, pen and stamped envelope and told to write a three line thank you note to the host. Further they were told to mail the note on the following Monday.

The next lesson will address the remaining concerns and will include a discussion of proper attire, place settings and the passing of serving dishes.

Good manners carry kids throughout their lives. They become more civilized. They avoid faux pas that embarrass their parents.

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