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6 Lessons in 6 Days

Helping your children survive this holiday season.

The holiday season is approaching, which means parents’ stress levels are on the rise. Every parent wants their child to be on their best behavior during the holidays, but do kids know what that means? Take a little time now to talk to your kids about good manners. Hermosa Beach etiquette coach Kari Doody offers these simple tips for parents and children during the holidays.

1. Try to have a few family meals a week. It doesn’t have to be fancy, but this is a great time to refresh their memory on how to use their knife, fork, spoon and napkin. It is also a good time to remind them when to use “please” and “thank you.” 

2. Talk to them about how to greet people in advance. Remind them that when they meet someone, they should make eye contact, shake their hand and say hello. If they are timid, tell them to just try to figure out what color eyes the “new” person has. My kids think it’s fun and make a game out of it. That way they are making eye contact without thinking about it.

3. Tell your kids to be flexible and patient with food. Parties and big events often take longer than a normal meal at home. People don’t always eat at the same time as you do, and feeding a lot of people takes extra time to prepare. Parents, if you think you will be served later than usual, bring a snack!

4. Increase your child’s conversational skills. Talk to them about conversations and that they should be like a “tennis match.” Encourage them to ask questions and use more than one-word, yes-or-no answers. Practice at home having a “tennis match” conversation with your child. You can even toss a ball back and forth until they get the hang of it.

5. Gift receiving. Children are not born knowing how to politely respond to gifts, and in their childlike honesty, they can say some impolite things. We parents must rehearse these situations with them. Have a conversation with your child about what to say when you get something you already have or don’t care for. Explain to them why we need to use tact, and how it could really hurt the gift-giver’s feelings if they know we don’t like something. Tell them to find something positive about the gift. Maybe they already have one of granny’s itchy sweaters from last Christmas, but maybe this year it is in their favorite color. Focus on the positive. It’s amazing what wonderful results occur with a bit of practice. 

6. Put technology AWAY! That means you too, Mom and Dad. Kids spend way too much time playing on their handheld games, talking or texting on the phone. You don’t want them to miss out on all of the fun memories being made. Instead, get your child to take pictures with a disposable camera or let them borrow yours. They can create their own memories and stay busy!

For more of Kari’s etiquette tips, visit oursouthbay.com.  For more on Kari, visit courteousandcool.com.

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