Friday, November 22, 2013

Like the Queen is Coming

A friend of mine told her son to "clean the bathroom like the Queen of England was coming." After a while he said he was finished and the mother went to check on the bathroom. To her amusement, she found a Union Jack flag taped to the door, a variety of teas set on the vanity alongside his double decker toy bus, a note saying, "Welcome to Our Country," and, finally, for her reading pleasure a copy of Harry Potter on the back of the toilet. Oh, and the bathroom was spotless!

Sounds like her son had a lot of fun, a good imagination, and the ability to clean.

Have you ever told your children to "behave like the Queen is coming" or "like the President were here"? Let me ask you, who is scarier when it comes to your children's manners, the President, or your children's grandparents? Or how about great Aunt Evelyn?

It's probably more likely that one of the latter will be at your house (or you'll be at theirs) and it might be as soon as this Thanksgiving or Christmas. Is there time for a quick brush up on mealtime manners?


If you make it a game. 

So play, "Like the Queen is Here". Here's some ideas on how:

  • Tell your kids that tonight you have a very special guest and you want them to behave appropriately.
  • Set out your good dishes and silverware on a pretty table cloth. 
  • Have an extra place for the "Queen". Print out a photo of her face (or get one from a magazine) and tape it to her chair.
  • Serve a nice meal--doesn't have to be fancy. Make sure it's not difficult to eat--like spaghetti that might spill on your tablecloth and tax their willingness to attempt good manners.
  • Call them to the meal with your best British accent (If you don't know how, check out youtube video below on how to do that.)
  • Introduce your children to the "Queen" and tell them to say, "How do you do, Ma'am?"
  • Now demonstrate and ask for "Proper Manners" (say that with a British accent!) Your children will  probably be picking up your accent and I think you will be surprised at how they will rise to the occasion. (China, lace, and royalty bring out the best in all of us.)
  • Have fun with this, but all the while encouraging (not nagging!) good manners.

If you do this I think your children will pick up the idea of what good manners are. Talk to your children during dessert (after the Queen has left for her next appointment) about how they would behave if the Queen really had been with you. 
Ask them 
  • why it might be important to have good manners.
  • why certain manners are expected on different occasions.
  • when they think manners need to be more formal than just a meal at home
  • how they would feel if the Queen came and they didn't know what was expected of them
Our children are quicker studies than we think. They should pick up on the application to which events you are referring. 

Just remember: they won't catch on if you aren't setting the example.

For more ideas on teaching manners see Good Manners Build Connected Families and Manners Mimic

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  1. I don't have children, but this is a great idea to practice table manners. I wish I had thought of it when I was teaching preschool.


  2. What a fun idea! We do similar things about twice a year: we call it our etiquette diner. The kids have really improved over the years!!!

  3. I love the idea of using a Brittish accent! When our kids were little, we told them we were training them to get a second date!

  4. What a darling story! When I was in high school chorus, the group went out to a restaurant on one of our tours and a fellow chorus member approached me privately, asking me to teach him table manners. He said his parents had never taught him and now that he was going out in public with others, he didn't want to be embarrassed. I told him a few basic rules that would keep him out of trouble and in good graces at the table and he was forever grateful.

  5. What a fun idea! I think I will practice this when my granddaughter comes to visit. Thank you for sharing a wonderful post. Found you on GRAND Social.

  6. Great approach to chores!! I enjoyed this post. Thanks for sharing it for WholeHearted Wednesdays this week.

  7. What a fun way to teach manners. Thank you so much for sharing with Wednesday's Adorned From Above Link Party. Have a great week.
    Debi and Charly @ Adorned From Above

  8. Great idea! We do something similar with tea parties. My girls have ceramic tea sets, but they can only use them if they are on their best behavior and use their manners! Would be great to do at a meal though, so they connect it with more then just playtime!



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