After unwrapping the shiny red wrapping paper you discover the gift from Grandma isn’t what you wanted. What do you do? Throughout the holiday season many children are exposed to a variety of situations that make them uncomfortable because they don’t know what to do. To lessen anxiety and embarrassment, we turned to two local etiquette experts—Bethany Miller, founder of Doors of Success School of Etiquette, and Cristina Harty, founder of Kharisma Finishing School.
When it comes to holiday etiquette, both Miller and Harty agree practicing tasks like setting the table, taking coats and introducing oneself can lessen the stress holiday parties have on children. “If you want the holiday season to go smoothly,” says Miller, “explain to your children that this is what it’s going to be like and this is what is expected of them.” Harty agrees: “Parents need to realize what’s enforced and taught at home is what happens in public.”
When it comes to gifts it can be quite embarrassing and hurtful when a child blurts out, “I already have this,” or worse, “I don’t like this.” Miller recommends practicing at home how to respond to gifts, making sure your child knows to be thankful.
For the picky eater, a holiday meal can be a compounded challenge. Instruct your child to say “no thank you” if they don’t want a particular item. If the host insists, have your child take a little and try it. If they don’t like it, don’t make them eat it, recommends Harty.
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