Our family loves to have guests, and we hardly ever turn down an invitation when we are invited guests at the home of friends. Because of that, I frequently have the opportunity to remind my children of a few key elements in being courteous to guests and hosts.
Here are Smockity's Ten Commandments of Courtesy for Kids (and Adults):
1. Greet others when you see them for the first time each day.
Responding to "Good morning", "Hi!", or any other greeting in a pleasant tone of voice is courteous. Entering a room and seeing someone for the first time that day and not greeting them or ignoring their greeting is rude.
I explain to my children that the person they neglect to greet after obviously seeing them could think they are mad, snobby, rude, or lazy. Saying, "Hi!" cheerfully, eliminates any misunderstanding.
I also remind them that being shy or tired is no excuse for not greeting someone.
2. Do not make unfavorable comments about food you are served.
Unfavorable comments include, but are not limited to:
- "WHAT is this stuff???"
- "This smells funny."
- "It looks yucky."
- "Why did you make this again?"
- "I don't like this."
- "This doesn't taste good."
You don't have to like the food, just keep that to yourself!
3. Look at the person who is talking to you.
Avoiding eye contact can make the person talking to you feel like you wish you were somewhere else. Look at the speaker's face and respond to their comments or questions pleasantly. Smiling and using complete sentences communicate that you are glad to be talking to them.
Looking around while they are talking makes you seem disinterested in what they are saying and is rude.
4. When in a group, try to face everyone.
Don't turn your back on part of the group. This will make them feel excluded.
5. Don't whisper in someone's ear or hold your hand up to block others from seeing what you say to someone.
This communicates that only certain people are special enough to hear your message. It can also be thought that since you don't want everyone to hear, that you may be saying something unflattering about one of the others.
6. If you see someone is being left out of the conversation or activity, try to include them.
It is nice to try to make everyone in a group feel at ease, if possible. If one person is being left out, try to make a point of asking them a question to get them involved in the conversation.
If the discussion is about Biology, ask them what science they are studying this year or whether they like science or history better.
If one person gets left out of a game of Apples to Apples, offer to let them sit by you and be your "consultant".
7. Thank the person who invited you or served you.
Whether you are a guest in someone's home, or you were invited to go with a group to see a movie, be sure to thank the person who invited you. Let them know you appreciate them thinking of you.
If you were served food or drink, be sure to thank the hostess for her efforts.
8. Do not begin eating until everyone has been served.
It is rude to start chowing down before others have their food. At home or a restaurant, we remind everyone to wait until all are served and the prayer of thanks is said to God before anyone begins eating.
9. Do not leave the table until others are through eating and you are excused.
We expect our children to stay seated at the table after they finish eating, as long as we are there eating and/or talking. If a little one tells us she is finished, we tell her to stay seated and listen to the talk until excused from the table.
10. Help with clean up.
Take your plate to the sink and ask the hostess if there is anything she would like help with. If everyone has left the table or the party, gathering trash or dishes can be a big help.