Author Archives: Deborah Aboud

Thanksgiving Day Etiquette for Kids

While we don’t expect our kids to offer to whip up the sweet potato pie or brine the bird for us, we can, and should, expect them to use their best manners at the dinner table — and there’s no better time than a holiday to help them brush up.

Dress the Part
It’s not just another weeknight dinner; Thanksgiving is one of the most special meals of the year. Whether you’re at home or at someone house, you’re probably using their most beautiful linens and china, and sitting before a gorgeous meal, so your appearance should honor that. The kids should be showered, their hair done neatly, nails shortened and clothes nicely put together.

Bring a Hostess Gift
Your host will likely put in a lot of time preparing the meal, and now they are opening up their home to you and your family. But rather than buying a hostess gift yourself, take the kids to the store with you. Show them the importance of a token of appreciation; let them help pick out the gift and help to wrap it. A good rule of thumb, is to go the extra mile and make the kids responsible for actually giving the gift. Don’t let the kids walk to the front door empty-handed. Put a little gift bag, batch of homemade cookies or plant into each set of hands. That’s the way you go to someones home.

Use Your Best Table Manners
By the time kids are 6, they should have basic table manners down pat. But if they need one, give a refresher course, ideally at home the week before the holiday. Sit up straight; napkins in laps; help pass food; wait until everyone is served; use the correct utensils; no texting or video games — and use napkins properly. Kids should know that linens are not used for sopping up spills. Yes, they are there just in case, but we are trying to keep the linens clean.

Be a Respectful Conversationalist
There are certain things kids should absolutely not say at the table. “This turkey is so dry!” Or, even worse, “I remember when my mom made the grossest thing. If they don’t like something on their plate, they should quietly leave it there — without announcing their dislike. There are a few things they should say, however: “Thank you.” “Please pass the green beans.” “May I please be excused?” “This tastes great!” and “Can I help clean up?” (Of course, the hostess will often answer that last one with a no, but they should still offer.)

Send a Thank You Note
After the whole thing is over and you’re back at home, get out some stationary and write up a thank you note. Something in the kids’ handwriting — even if the child is four — is so nice to receive. You could also simply have them sign the card, or draw a picture. Grandparents and older relatives often still expect that kind of thing. And it’s our job to keep those traditions alive.

happy Thanksgiving & Blessings,
Deborah A. Aboud
Owner/ Etiquette With Deborah
Certified Children & Teen Etiquette Trainer
603-275-5681

Teaching the Ordinary to Extraordinary!

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Help your kids be on their best behavior this Thanksgiving with a Simple Etiquette Refresher

While we don’t expect our kids to offer to whip up the sweet potato pie or brine the bird for us, we can, and should, expect them to use their best manners at the dinner table — and there’s no better time than a holiday to help them brush up.

Dress the Part
It’s not just another weeknight dinner; Thanksgiving is one of the most special meals of the year. Whether you’re at home or at someone house, you’re probably using their most beautiful linens and china, and sitting before a gorgeous meal,  so your appearance should honor that. The kids should be showered, their hair done neatly, nails shortened and clothes nicely put together.
Bring a Hostess Gift
Your host will likely put in a lot of time preparing the meal, and now they are opening up their home to you and your family. But rather than buying a hostess gift yourself, take the kids to the store with you.  Show them the importance of a token of appreciation; let them help pick out the gift and help to wrap it. A good rule of thumb, is to go the extra mile and make the kids responsible for actually giving the gift. Don’t let the kids walk to the front door empty-handed. Put a little gift bag, batch of homemade cookies or plant into each set of hands. That’s the way you go to someones home.

Use Your Best Table Manners
By the time kids are 6, they should have basic table manners down pat. But if they need one, give a refresher course, ideally at home the week before the holiday. Sit up straight; napkins in laps; help pass food; wait until everyone is served; use the correct utensils; no texting or video games — and use napkins properly. Kids should know that linens are not used for sopping up spills. Yes, they are there just in case, but we are trying to keep the linens clean.

Be a Respectful Conversationalist
There are certain things kids should absolutely not say at the table. “This turkey is so dry!” Or, even worse, “I remember when my mom made the grossest thing. If they don’t like something on their plate, they should quietly leave it there — without announcing their dislike. There are a few things they should say, however: “Thank you.” “Please pass the green beans.” “May I please be excused?” “This tastes great!” and “Can I help clean up?” (Of course, the hostess will often answer that last one with a no, but they should still offer.)

Send a Thank You Note
After the whole thing is over and you’re back at home, get out some stationary and write up a thank you note. Something in the kids’ handwriting — even if the child is four — is so nice to receive. You could also simply have them sign the card, or draw a picture. Grandparents and older relatives often still expect that kind of thing. And it’s our job to keep those traditions alive.

happy Thanksgiving & Blessings,
Deborah A. Aboud
Owner/ Etiquette With Deborah
Certified Children & Teen Etiquette Trainer
603-275-5681
www.etiquettewithdeborah.com

Teaching the Ordinary to Extraordinary!

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Family Time Should Not Include Video Games

I am pro toy. I love creative board games, building blocks, puppets, books, puzzles, science projects, sports equipment and crafts. I seek toys, products and games that engage, challenge, educate, encourage movement and that are fun. I especially love toys that encourage family time.

Unlike the average lay person who strolls the toy aisles with casual interest, I painstakingly study each shelf, taking detailed notes about the designs, age appropriateness, quality of packaging, attention to detail, and overall toy concept. “What kind of a hit is this toy maker going to take when smart and thoughtful moms and dads say, ‘No Way!’ to this doll that looks like a prostitute?”

Of all the choices, I find video games to be the most rotten and scary. Children are begging us to give them our time and attention, and we are handing them insipid tech toys that isolate them from us, their siblings and their peers. As if it weren’t bad enough to immobilize a child in front of the television or computer at home for hour after hour, manufacturers have scaled the units down so that kids can play video games in the car, instead of speaking with us; play video games on the playground, instead of hanging on the monkey bars; and even play video games at the dinner table, instead of eating with the family.

Video games, computer games, DVD players and iPods discourage face to face interaction, requiring the user to stare sedately at a screen, or tune people out with earphones. These devices also discourage creativity, imagination and activity. We have all heard the frightening reports of increasing childhood obesity, high cholesterol and diabetes; however we continue to offer toy choices that limit mobility.

After watching kids playing merrily on the playground or grinning from ear to ear as they run all day on a beach, how could any parent opt to instead sit their children in front of a television for hours of passive, inactive, button pushing? If I was a kid and I knew everything that I know now, I would revolt.

I guess it is our job, as caring, loving parents, to revolt for them.

Let’s stand up for our children’s right to actively experience childhood, and stop handing them devices that discourage running, jumping, imagining, reading, growing, learning, and moving? Let’s encourage face to face interaction and give our kids the attention that they need and crave and that we promised them the first time we held them. Let’s limit the amount of video monitors that we expose our children to, in favor of games, toys and crafts that appeal to their energized, smart, clever and funny nature. Let’s choose to put down what we are doing in favor of being with our kids. There will be plenty of time to do what we want when we blink and our kids are grown.

For More Information check out Etiquette With Deborah

Deborah A. Aboud is Owner/ Etiquette With Deborah and a Certified Children & Teen Etiquette Trainer

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