Teaching Preschool Table Manners With Tea PartiesJeniffer Do Nascimento
While eating at a restaurant, we’ve all witnessed unruly children and the embarrassed parents that accompany them.
Are you that mother? Do you have those kids? We’ve all been there. No one can deny that eating out with toddlers and preschoolers can be challenging and often times frustrating.
Today I will share with you a simple yet fun way to practice good manners with our little ones —tea parties.
Here’s what you need:
- some kind of drink (tea, lemonade, fruit juice, or even water)
- a tea set (regular cups and saucers would do fine too)
- fancy cookies (we get ours from the dollar store or Aldi)
- table cloth to catch the spills that are bound to happen (hand towels are a good size for this)
Setting up the tea table is something young children really enjoy, so let them help.
Being a host and a guest
Before you begin the tea party, establish who will be the host and who will be the guest. The host pours the tea, serves the cookies, and makes sure none of the guests run out of snacks before the party is over.
The guest rings the doorbell and asks to come in. By asking permission, you are establishing boundaries. For example, instead of just walking into your bedroom or bathroom, teach them to say, “May I come in?”
Whether they are the host or the guest, children delight in serving others. Teaching children to serve at a young age carries through to a lifetime of willingness to put others first.
Saying please and thank you
While serving, teach them to ask, “Would you like some tea?” and the proper response, “Yes, please. Thank you.” Requiring your child to use good manners before receiving more cookies or tea will encourage polite usage in a playful way that will hopefully carry over to daily use.
Because tea parties are fancy, we must be on our best behavior and use good manners. Encouraging small drinks instead of big gulps and not talking with food in their mouths will help your children form good habits for every meal and not just tea time.
Gentle reminding to chew with their mouths closed helps wandering minds remember their manners and will eventually be an ingrained habit.
Not reaching across the table
Reaching across the table is a big no-no. Not only is it rude, it usually ends up with something being spilled. Practicing this at home will inevitably save embarrassing messes in the future.
It doesn’t take much time or money to have a tea party with your young children. Though simple play, children learn life skills. And what better way to teach them than while having fun together?