Etiquette Classes for Kids: Fab or Too Far?

11:41 pm For The PreSchool Mama


I came across this article yesterday – please take the time to read it.  Apparently, etiquette classes for kids are becoming all the rage in America.  Stressed parents have no time to teach kids social graces like table manners and stuff, and so, are packing kids off to these etiquette classes so their children will learn to mind their Ps and Qs.   The video shows a bunch of 7 to 11 years olds, sitting stiffly at a table and being taught the fine nuances of social dining. 

Kids as young as 4and this is the point that bothers meare being sent to these classes to imbibe social graces!  Four!!! Why does a four year old need to be all stiff and formal? To have dinner with the Queen?

A part of me feels sorry for parents who are too busy to devote as much time as they might like to teaching their kids manners.  After a stressful day at the office, the last thing you want to do is remind your child through gritted teeth not to talk with her mouth full or to get that elbow off the table.  I can even understand sending older kids or teens to these classes, if their manners were leading to you being dropped from party invitations around town.

But preschoolers? Come on.

What do you think?  Would you consider sending your kids to  a manners class?

11 Responses
  1. Alison :

    Date: April 9, 2008 @ 7:30 am

    Definitely too far, in my opinion!
    The only reason I’d take my toddlers would be to start a big food fight and have some fun!

  2. Jen@BigBinder :

    Date: April 9, 2008 @ 8:21 am

    That article was fascinating. Several things struck me; the most prominent was that parents need to do this themselves by and large. I do believe in good manners, and yes my 2 year old occasionally remembers to put her napkin on her lap – but because her dad and I do and she is imitating us, not because she is ‘taught’ to. I wouldn’t send my kids personally, because I think my family in general does a good job of teaching polite behavior and what fork to use. I don’t think an extra dose of etiquitte as an older child, more young teen maybe, would hurt but if they don’t see it modeled it won’t change any behavior.

  3. workout mommy :

    Date: April 9, 2008 @ 9:12 am

    I’m with you on this, that is just crazy. Preschoolers do not need to worry about fine dining etiquette!

    It seems like everything is outsourced these days. In my area, you can hire someone to teach your kid how to RIDE A BIKE!! Craziness!!

  4. PlanningQueen :

    Date: April 9, 2008 @ 10:00 am

    I think this is just another example of how childhood is being “hurried” and of ever increasing and unrealistic expectations of preschoolers.

    Preschoolers can be messy, rude and ungracious at times, but it is part of their on going development. By role modelling the correct behaviours and through practical lessons a parent can teach their child many things.

    I agree that a child’s primary educator at this stage of their life should be their parents.

  5. PreSchool Mama :

    Date: April 9, 2008 @ 12:56 pm

    Thank God I am not alone in thinking this! I try not to find fault with parents for the choices that they make for their kids, but I was having a hard time trying to justify these etiquette classes in my mind.
    Sometimes I think if you’re so busy you don’t have the time to teach your child even the most basic things in life, you might want to reconsider having children or at least limiting the number of kids you have. Raising kids takes time – lots of it.

  6. PreSchool Mama :

    Date: April 9, 2008 @ 12:57 pm

    @Workout Mommy, That’s insane!!!

  7. Elexis :

    Date: April 9, 2008 @ 11:33 pm

    Sick, sick, sick. I think it’s SOOOO sad that people choose to have children knowing they don’t have or WON’T make the time to be with them. I have a friend (not so much anymore) who wanted a baby so bad, she & her husband went to Russia and adopted. The process took 9 months and during that time, they bought a huge house that there’s no way they could afford if they both weren’t working. So, knowing she was going to get a baby, they bought anyway, and now the child is in full-time daycare so they can both work to afford the house.

    Sorry about my rant! I’m done. It’s just all so depressing. I wish I could take all these kids into my home! (well, sometimes I wish that. sometimes I can’t even handle my own 2! haha!)

  8. Lis Garrett :

    Date: April 10, 2008 @ 5:08 pm

    I have yet to read the article, but I think it’s somewhat silly. We do our best to teach our children what is appropriate and not (and not only at the dinner table). Parenting is HARD work, but it’s what my husband and I signed up for when we got married and decided to have children.

  9. PreSchoolMama » Blog Archive » Do You Have What it Takes to Be an Idle Parent? :

    Date: April 25, 2008 @ 8:47 pm

    [...] right on a few counts.  We all agree over-regulating a child’s life is no good,  like those etiquette classes for kids we talked about a few days [...]

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