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Monica Irvine
President, The Etiquette Factory

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Attending a Party

Parties are so exciting for children. From the moment they receive the invitation in the mail, to impatiently waiting for the party to actually arrive; it’s simply a thrill for kids. If you’re like me, once you drop your child off at a party, you wonder if they really are going to remember their “manners”. I’m sure as they leave your car, you say something like; “Remember to be on your best behavior”….or “Remember your please and ‘thank you’s’”. Our poor children; will they ever escape our constant reminders? No, probably not.

It’s important that instead of “squeezing in” a lesson on party etiquette right before a party, that we take the time to teach these skills properly; which take a little time. This is a conversation that needs to happen more than once, but we educators will make a lesson. Sound boring, well wait a minute. Get creative. Plan an “etiquette party” for your children; from invitations, to party favors, to gifts (inexpensive), food and games. This is a great way to go over party etiquette while having a really good time. This will help your children to apply what their hearing and having visual aides will help them remember the rules. Let’s begin.

First, when your children receive their invitations in the mail; stop and take the time to go over proper etiquette when receiving an invitation. We look at the invitation and decide first, are we available for the party. Once we clear it on our calendar, we call the host and RSVP (which means to respond please). Explain to your children why it is important and polite to RSVP promptly. The host for the party needs to have time to plan the amount of food, beverages, chairs, goody bags, etc. to have prepared for the party. We also wouldn’t want the host to spend their time or money preparing for us to come, when we’re not. This would be inconsiderate to the host. Once we have RSVP, mark our calendar. Remember we have made a commitment to go, it is important to keep our commitment unless an emergency occurs.

OK, it’s the day of the party. Time to remember what the most important rule of attending a party is: show up on time. If we don’t show up on time, the host might worry, think we’re not coming, and possibly feel sad or mad. This would not be polite for us to cause the host these concerns. Be on time! When we arrive, use pleasant greetings and introductions. (This is a great time to role play arriving at a party. Allow your children to role play the guest and the host. Let them ring the doorbell and go through proper introductions and greetings, remembering it is the host job to introduce those who don’t know each other. Practice).

Next, as your class enjoys planned games, activities and eating at the party, remind them of the following etiquette considerations:

It is polite to participate in all planned activities.
It is rude to complain about an activity or game.
We never, never, never say an activity, a game or even the party is boring. This would hurt the host’s feelings and be very inconsiderate.
We never complain or criticize food being served at the party. A simple “no thank you” is fine. We also never say, “I don’t like that”.
We always clean up after ourselves, placing trash in appropriate places.
We stay in rooms that adults say is OK.
We stay out of “closed door” rooms.
No rough play.
Hands off breakables.
No feet on furniture.
We don’t open drawers, cabinets or refrigerators without permission.
We eat and drink only where we’re supposed to.
If we make a spill, we tell the grown up quickly and help clean up.
When we use the bathroom, we keep it tidy.
We sit quietly and watch while presents are being opened.

Lastly, it’s important to remember that it is our job to make the birthday girl or boy feel special. This means that we don’t take attention away from them or from their party. Just like we arrived on time, it’s polite to leave on time. Thank the host and the birthday boy or girl for inviting you to the party. For instance, “Thank you Mrs. Irvine for this lovely party. I had such a good time and I appreciate all you did to make it such a wonderful party. Happy Birthday Sawyer. I hope your day continues to be awesome.”

Allowing your children to help plan your etiquette party (preparing the games, activities, food and goody bags) is a great way to help them appreciate the time, money and thought that goes into a party.

Have a great week,
Monica Irvine
CEO/The Etiquette Factory

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