With the holidays fast approaching, kids and adults alike will have their manners on display in front of family, friends, and strangers during multiple occasions. To prepare for Thanksgiving dinner next week, we thought we would compile a few tips drawn from some of the great manner-minded products that we carry at Learning Express.
From the creators of Blunders, the award-winning game that teaches children about social and dining etiquette, come these helpful suggestions about what responsibilities kids can take on when you’re playing host.
1. Welcome guests at the door. All family members should be at the door to greet the guests. Give names, say “Hello, it is nice to meet you” and shake hands if meeting for the first time.
2. Take and hang up coats.
3. If there are children visiting, your kids can have activities planned for them to do. This does not include playing video games and having the guests watch!
4. At some point, your kids should be expected to sit with the adults and make polite conversation.
5. Children can also help you to serve food and do things to make the visit easier.
Some answers to those what-if’s of the dinner table from A Smart Girl’s Guide to Manners, which is part of the complete American Girl “Smart Girl” series.
Q: There are anchovies in the salad, and as far as you’re concerned, anchovies are the yuckiest things on the planet.
A: It’s O.K. to eat around bits of food you dislike, as long as you don’t sort your food into little piles as you do it. And what if a platter comes along with food you don’t want? Pleasantly say, “No thank you.”
Q: Ping! Your fork hits the floor.
A: Leave the fork on the floor if you’re in a restaurant, and ask the server for a new one. If you’re at a friend’s, pick up the fork and say, “Excuse me, I dropped my fork.” That’s the host’s cue to get you a new one.
Q: A piece of spinach is wedged between your teeth.
A: Say, “May I be excused for a moment, please?” Go to the bathroom and do whatever you need to do to get the spinach out. (If you see something stuck in your friend’s teeth, don’t sit there wondering when she’ll notice it herself. Let her know with a small hand motion.)
Q: You poke your salad and a bug crawls out.
A: Say, “May I have another salad?” Explain why if the host asks. Try—really try—not to squeal and make a fuss.
Q: Your milk topples over onto the tablecloth.
A: Say, “I’m sorry!” and help clean up. Accidents happen to everybody—including adults.
Q: The moment the host has filled your plate, you realize that you really, really have to go to the bathroom.
A: Say, “May I be excused for a moment, please?”
Q: There’s a UFO on your plate—an Unidentified Food Object. (What is it? How do you eat it? You have no idea!)
A: Keep chatting. Wait to see what the hostess does with the UFO on her plate.
Q: You took a bite of meat five minutes ago and are still chewing, trying to get rid of the gristle.
A: Quietly take the gristle out of your mouth with your thumb and forefinger and place it on the edge of your plate.
Q: The host appears with a platter of deviled eggs, and you’re allergic to eggs.
A: Say, “No thank you. I’m allergic to eggs.” Make a meal of the other foods on the table.
For more advice, check out last year’s Thanksgiving blog. Here’s wishing you a very Happy Thanksgiving!