Parents, it’s not too late to teach manners to your kids

SEATTLE -- Good manners aren't just for adults; kids can practice proper etiquette too. That is the message of Arden Clise, founder and president of Clise Etiquette. After focusing for many years on etiquette in business, she added on classes and camps for kids, too!

Arden's summer camps, for kids ages 7 through 12, cover everything from how to behave in public and how to be a good host or guest at a party; to proper table manners, and even "netiquette", or internet etiquette.

Camper Ravenna's favorite tip from the week? To never have a negative reaction to gifts. "If it's dirt, say 'Oh, yay! Now I can put it in my garden!' and not 'Dirt? I hate dirt!'"

We joined their celebration meal on the final day, and Arden was kind enough to give me a seat at the table. Throughout the meal, Arden covered proper ways to pass the bread, cut meat; where to rest your spoon in between sips of soup (in the saucer!), and even proper mealtime conversation.

One of the big takeaways? Good manners start with us. "Of course, being good role models as parents as well is really important, Arden told us. 'So not the 'do as I say, not as I do'! It needs to me 'do as I say, and do'!"

Camper Christine says the week has been eye opening. "These are life skills, and I think that it's really important that we learn them now rather than later, because I think our memories are sharper."

Arden's other tips for parents:

  • You can start teaching manners when they're toddlers. "Please and Thank You" are great to start; and as soon as they are able to use utensils to eat, you can teach them the proper way to handle food.
  • Teens or pre-teens displaying bad manners? Arden says it's not too late. At this age, it's important to relate some of the real-world, positive implications good manners can have. Everything from how to behave on a date, to how to carry yourself in an interview can be directly impacted by establishing good habits now.

To learn more about Clise Etiquette and Arden's classes for both kids and adults, click HERE.