Tuesday, 25 November 2014

Party Manners Please! Thank You.

Naturally you’d like your birthday child to be a beautifully behaved, courteous host or hostess who is more concerned about their guests’ pleasure than about his or her own. Yeah, well, don't hold your breath. More likely that won’t happen for a good many years. Parties often bring out the worst in very young children–your own and the guests. While manners are important, don’t ruin the party for your child by prompting or scolding; this isn’t the time.

Though your child's natural inclination will not yet be to assume the perfect role of host, you can prevent embarrassing rudeness by talking about the party beforehand. We are so used to party traditions that we often forget to tell a 2 or 3 year old what to expect. It’s a good idea to talk about the sequence of events and the rules you expect to be followed. You can try to get a few simple messages about good manners across to all but the youngest of children by following these simple suggestions:

•Encourage your child to disguise his or her ‘me first’ behavior, at least to the extent of saying hello to the guests before grabbing the presents.

•Remind your child that he or she is expected to say hello and goodbye to each guest.
•Play the "what if" game: "What if you don't like a present?" "What if you don't win at one of the games?" What if somebody gets a bigger piece of cake than you?" and so on making sure you discuss polite responses to each scenario.
•Teach your child some nice things to say if he or she receives identical gifts. Try, “Thanks, I wanted another one,” or “It’s good to have 2 of these.” If a present duplicates something the child already has, it’s probably best just to say "thank you," and not bring up the fact that they already have one and definitely not, "I already have one of these!"
•Prepare your child ahead of time for the end of the party. Show by your example that we say goodbye at the door and say thank you for the present, even if we didn't love it or can’t remember what it was.

It’s reasonable for a young child’s birthday to be one time when being “selfish” is okay. The birthday child should not be expected to share the gifts or to let others play with them. Even adults wouldn't want to share their new "toys" with the next door neighbor immediately after recieving them, but then again, the next door neighbor probably wouldn't ask. Kids, on the other hand, do not understand such things and often it is best if the new gifts get put away or out of site after the birthday child opens them and thanks the giver of the gift to avoid any confrontations or awkward situations. Tell your child that they can play with their new stuff after all of the guests have gone home.

Manners are important but can sometimes be forgotten in the excitement of a party and the best thing you can do is deal with the issues before the party even happens. What are some things you have done to encourage good manners at your child's parties?

Photo Credit: © Dolgachov | Dreamstime.com - Mother And Daughter In Blue Hats With Favor Horns Photo

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