Charles and Sally

Charles and Sally
en route to Le Diner en Blanc

Le Diner en Blanc New York

Le Diner en Blanc New York
Lincoln Center 2012

Thursday, February 26, 2009

TEA PARTY MANNERS

Ever wonder how you can teach manners to your rambunctious preschool grandchildren without coming across like a disciplinarian? You can take a leaf from the program at the Escuela Preschool in Minot, North Dakota, where four- and five-year-olds invited their grandparents to a tea party.

At Escuela, the children’s teacher, Paula Simonson, put on a hat and let the children choose hats for themselves and for their grandparents. Then Ms. Simonson sat with the youngsters, teaching them how to hold a teacup correctly, how to nibble on a cookie, and how to talk politely with their grandparents. She even suggested conversational topics that the children could raise with the older generation, like the weather – or asking Grandma “how she’s feeling after her gallbladder operation.”

This is a great activity that any of us grands can do with our own little ones. In fact, two of the grannies whose stories I tell in SUPER GRANNY did something similar. Once a year Patti takes her six granddaughters to a teahouse that has a huge trunk full of fur boas and other dress-up items, “where they get a chance to use their good table manners.” And about once a week Carol hosts her grandsons at a festively set table (including animal-face paper plates) and has conversations ranging from favorite colors to the solar system.

I was so tickled recently to see, at the Dolphin Bookshop here in Port Washington, MANNERS CAN BE FUN, the Munro Leaf book about manners that I had when my daughters were small – and that I even remember from my own childhood. I think this is the one that taught me to cover my mouth when I yawned, by showing a huge open mouth. There are a lot of things I don’t remember – but this is one that I do. It made quite an impression – and I’m glad this childhood classic is still being published, sold, and teaching manners in a delightful way.

2 comments:

Dorothy said...

Came over from Play Wit Me Nana and this is a lovely blog. Good luck with your book sales...

Dorothy from grammology
grammology.com

Susan Adcox said...

I've ordered my copy of Manners Are Fun and am looking forward to sharing it with my grandchildren. It's my observation that children today are hungry for this type of instruction. They lead such different lives than we did! But my grandchildren love it when I show them the proper way to set a table and other such bygone arts.