Monday, November 22, 2010

Holiday Manners for Children

Holidays are a happy occasion that often result in stress for parents for children. Lots of activity, food, movement, and stimulation are a change to most children's routines. And all moms know what that means...potential for meltdowns. Nobody ever wants a meltdown, but you really want to avoid the drama filled meltdown on Thanksgiving in front of family. (And your mother in law!)

At the same time, that does not mean that parents should cater to ever whim of a child simply because it is a holiday. A few simple guidelines can help make your Thanksgiving a pleasant and enjoyable experience for everyone, even at the children's table!


1. Dress for the occasion. It's amazing how children instantly act like ladies and gentlemen when they are wearing more formal clothing. Nice pants and a dress shirt are great for boys. A smocked dress or jumper is appropriate for girls.

Chasing Fireflies dress

2. It's ok to be excused from the table. Normally, I expect that my children remain at the table until everyone has finished the meal. But at lengthy dinners like Thanksgiving, adults often enjoy conversation and drinks long after the plates have been cleared. Allow children to be excused from the table when the meal is finished. Having age appropriate "quiet activities" like coloring pages or books is an excellent way to keep children entertained.


3. Table talk. Encourage children to talk with other adults at Thanksgiving. Eye contact is important as are saying "please" and "thank you." Parents can suggest conversation topics like school, sports, or other activities to children before the meal.

4. You don't have to like everything. Even as adults, we don't always like all of the food that is served to us. Children should try food (unless there is a food allergy) and know what to do if they do not wish to eat something that is served to them in a polite manner, without making faces of disgust!

P.S. Obviously, my tips are focused on younger children, but I do have one thing to add for parents of teens. No texting or phones at the Thanksgiving table. Please.

Have a wonderful day! Are you getting ready for Thanksgiving?



  1. Great guidelines! I have one family member who allows her son to misbehave at family dinners, and it is so irritating and rude! He spits food out, hits the other children and eats like an animal. I wish his mom could read these!

  2. So true, if only we all followed just these few basics!

  3. Great tips... I think dressing the part is very important. Hard to get that point across to my guys sometimes though!!!



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