Written By: Parenting Contributor, Prerna Malik, TheMomWrites.com
With the holidays in full swing, chances are you’re being invited to more than a few holiday dinner parties and gatherings. Taking kids along with you is a great way to introduce them to extended family and friends.
However, you need to make sure that your kids have good holiday manners. Really, you don’t want to be the parent whose kids upset the gravy boat and don’t apologize.
Here are some tips for making sure your children have good holiday manners and dining etiquette, perfect for the season:
1. Basics In Place
Yes, the basics of manners must be in place, even for kids, as young as 3 years. Saying ‘ please’, ‘thank you’ and ‘you’re welcome’ is something children should be familiar with and be able to use with ease.
Also, teach children the art of not interrupting others when talking or eating or saying ‘ Excuse me’ should they have something important to share.
2. Holiday Manners for the Table
Dining etiquette for kids is really not very different from that for grown-ups. Here are a few basics:
- Wait for everyone to be seated at the table and for the host to have said grace or a toast before wanting to be served.
- Remind children to serve themselves sensibly and not overload their plates. They can always come back for seconds.
- Dessert is after dinner. Wait for everyone at the table to finish before serving yourself dessert.
- If there is something you don’t like, don’t make an announcement of it.
- Eat with your mouth closed and no slurpy-burpy sounds.
Offer to take your plate to the kitchen.
3. ‘Tis the Season to be Polite and Pleasant
Finally, remind children that the holidays are not just about the parties and the presents. It is about being polite, pleasant and compassionate to those around them. That may mean lending a patient ear to Aunt Martha’s stories or a helping hand to Uncle Abe with mowing the lawn or running an errand or two for the lonely, elderly neighbor down the street.
It also means wishing people with a smile, replying when talked to and generally, being a happy and pleasant child.
The holidays can be stressful for kids as well, so remember to be patient and make corrections privately when a child is unintentionally rude or inconsiderate.
With a bit of advance prep for holiday manners, chances are you’ll have kids at the table who’ll be cheerful little elves putting their best foot forward.
How do YOU teach holiday manners to kids? Share with me in the comments.