I always admire children who are well-behaved and well-mannered and parents who seem to have it all together in this department. What’s the secret to making sure your little ones are putting their best foot forward and using all the proper social graces (ahem, not slurping spaghetti or wiping their nose on your sleeve — not my kids, just an example)? I found the secret at The Plaza Finishing Program’s Children’s Etiquette Course with Beaumont Etiquette.
Plan to arrive punctually at The Eloise Shop at The Plaza (one can’t be late to an etiquette class!) and expect your little loved one to be greeted personally by the teacher. After shaking hands and saying how do you do, kids are escorted back to the Eloise Tea Room sans parents for this 90-minute etiquette experience. There were a few tears shed but the vast majority of kids happily retreated to the pink parlor to learn all about etiquette.
Anne Chertoff, COO, The Plaza Finishing Program & Beaumont Etiquette Project Director, told us that through The Plaza Finishing Program’s Children’s Etiquette Course the children, ages 5-9, are taught manners that they can use every day — at home, at school, at birthday parties, even when traveling on an airplane. She adds, “We want them to have a good foundation in how to be kind, considerate and respectful, which they will use not only as children but as adults too.”
Once inside the Children’s Etiquette Course with Beaumont Etiquette kids learn that etiquette is about being kind and respectful and generous, and learn etiquette lessons in a fun and playful way. My little lady said she learned why manners are important, where to use them, and how to practice them. To start, the kids went around the room to make introductions in a proper way, learned the definition of etiquette, and then it was on to some fun and games (since Beaumont Etiquette turns lessons into a fun game or activity). My daughter enjoyed the good and bad manners game. She said the teacher would show the group an action and they say if it’s a good or bad manner. They do this with green and red flags to note good and bad manners respectively. She was somehow surprised to learn that giving bunny ears in a photo is indeed bad manners.
Next, it was on to some arts and crafts. Each student was able to select his/her favorite color paper to make a manners tree. Then they are encouraged to write or draw some manners that they learned. After, the students get to bring the tree home to remind them of their favorite lessons learned and to apply them after the program.
Photo by Town and Country Magazine
For dining etiquette, they have the kids set the table after they show them what a place setting should look like, and then they get to practice how to use cutlery and a napkin while enjoying tea sandwiches, bite-sized pastries, fruit kebabs and pink lemonade! Yum! My darling daughter came out of the course with a giant smile and acting like a proper little lady. There was mild disappointment that there was no certificate of completion or Eloise gift (warning: you literally walk through the Eloise store with all its Eloise-themed gift temptations to enter and leave the tea parlor) but there is a sense of accomplishment.
She was enthusiastically using her please, thank you, and best manners, telling others how to properly place and use napkins, and practicing the proper way to use her cutlery and table manners. It is a beautiful thing!
Anne says that the best way to practice the manners learned in the course is to “have kids use them in real-life settings, such as setting the table for dinner every night, involving them in planning holidays — what job do they want, have them organize activities for the other children — and play games where you ask them what they would or should do in various situations.” When asked about the top manners that need correcting for children, she told us, “using cutlery is tough for kids because they may not have been taught how to hold a knife and fork correctly but they are quick learners and get to practice cutting their food. Speaking to and addressing adults and peers is also something parents often love that we focus on.”
Will my daughter remember proper posture, table settings, and napkin placement next week (or even tomorrow) or better yet, remember to always apply these lessons? I am cautiously optimistic that she will and so far so good (and I’m hoping this sticks!). Most importantly, however, she was delighted with the experience and I am overjoyed with the outcome. My little lady learned that etiquette is essential and was reminded to always be respectful, to always be kind, and to put her best foot forward, and I couldn’t ask for anything more.
For more information and a schedule of upcoming events, please visit beaumontetiquette.com
About The Plaza Finishing Program’s Children’s Etiquette Course with Beaumont Etiquette
The Plaza Finishing Program’s Children’s Etiquette Course with Beaumont Etiquette is an etiquette class for boys and girls, ages 5 to 9. Children will learn the fundamentals in both dining and social etiquette, including, but not limited to basic table manners, greeting adults with respect, making friends and positive body language and eye contact. In New York City the course is taught in The Plaza’s Eloise Tea Room and is limited to 24 students. The children’s program is $150 per child and includes light refreshments and beverages. Click the links below to register for an upcoming summer or fall 2019 Children’s Etiquette Course: