Essential Social Skills Tips to Instill in Your Kids During the Holiday Season
The holidays are exciting for parents and kids alike, but they can also be challenging on many levels. Parties, dinners, new faces, old friends, extended family,… you name it and your child will be exposed to it.
So how do you prepare your child for the flurry of activities and attention so that it’s a jolly time for all? By teaching and reinforcing good behaviors, your child can breeze through the season being “nice,” not “naughty.” And these skills are often not taught at school, so it’s up to you.
greetings and introductions
Teach your child to always greet his/her hostess with a warm “hello” when you enter and a heartfelt “thank you” when you leave. Sometimes your child may have to introduce him/her self to a relative or someone they don’t know. Encourage them to shake hands and introduce themselves using their first and last name. A conversation can be started by simply asking someone how their holiday is going. They should try and branch out from one word “yes and no” answers and engage in conversation and explain that it’s a lot more fun!
Whether your child is attending a school holiday party, a dinner with family or a formal holiday event they should be aware of basic table savvy.
BMW—This acronym will help kids remember the placement of a table setting. From left to right they will encounter a bread dish (the B), a meal plate (the M) and a water glass (the W). All the different dishes and glassware can be intimidating for a child.
Utensils-Left has four letters and so does fork, so the fork goes on the left. Spoon and knife both have five letters, so does the word right. So those utensils go on the right.
Napkin-Always place your napkin in your lap and gently tap your mouth with it after every few bites. It’s not used as a full-face wipe
Eating-Remember not to eat until everyone is served, do not say out loud if you dislike a food served, and always chew with your mouth closed.
The holidays mean gifts galore! Sometimes your child will be receiving a gift and other times they will be giving one.
Receiving-A gift is never to be expected, even if it is a holiday. It is a thoughtful gesture and should always be received with a big “thank you” whether you like or need what is given.
Giving-Giving a gift feels great and you should teach your children that the holidays are about giving just as much as they are about receiving. Sometimes a gift may be for a hostess, a teacher, a family member or even a friend. It doesn’t matter what the reason is or how much was spent on it, a gift is the perfect way to say “thank you” for having me to your party, for being a great teacher or just for being my friend.
By going over these basics in advance of the holidays you are giving your child the tools they need to be feel more confident in social situations and to be more socially aware. In today’s word where kids interact face-to-Facebook more than face-to-face, the art of conversation and interaction is becoming more and more foreign to them. Practice and living these skills with your kids will help to prepare them for success on the playground, in the classroom and eventually in the workplace.
Faye Rogaski is the founder of socialsklz:-) and offers holidaysklz workshops and private instruction in Manhattan, Westchester and Brooklyn.