Cutting and Chewing
What passed for "good" dining etiquette when your child was 8 years old isn't likely to pass as a teenager. According to EmilyPost.com, cutting and chewing food should be done thoughtfully and graciously. Your teen should cut and eat one piece of food at a time and wait until he's finished swallowing before drinking from his glass. Carefully scoop small morsels on a plate with a knife and fork or gently pierce the food with fork spears rather than stabbing or scooping the meal as though it were his last.
Passing and Transfer
Most teenagers understand that climbing on dining room chairs or sitting on the table is inappropriate, but the subtleties of passing food items and hand position is less well known. Your teen should always ask for someone to pass the item instead of reaching across, and food should always move from left to right. She also should never attempt to serve herself, or grab a roll, when an item is being passed between two people, even if it passes in front of her, explains EmilyPost.com.
Keeping one's face, hands and mouth clean during a meal keeps the experience pleasant and enjoyable for everyone, explains Cameron-Williams. Your teen's napkin should sit in his lap throughout the meal and be used as needed. Anything unsavory he accidentally eats, such as a strand of hair or a piece of bone, should come out discretely. If he gets food stuck in his teeth, needs to blow his nose or he experiences a coughing fit, he should excuse himself from the table and attend to the matter privately in the bathroom, explains EmilyPost.com
Technology at the Table
Cell phones are practically permanent fixtures in teens' hands, but they have little place in a formal dining setting, explains EmilyPost.com. Good manners mean giving dining guests her full attention, something that's virtually impossible if she's texting under the table every 30 seconds. Cell phones should be set on vibrate and placed in a purse or jacket, away from the dining setting. If your teen is expecting an important text or phone call, she should excuse herself from the table before replying.
Courteous and Cool
Courteous and Cool is an etiquette school that hosts classes throughout the South Bay area. The company strives to teach children, tweens and teens proper table manners, conversation skills, confidences and how to choose appropriate attire. Classes are open to children as young as 4 years old. Some of the classes Courteous and Cool offers include Proud 2 Be Polite and Dining 101. The most popular etiquette class it hosts is the modern cotillion program. In addition to being instructed in ballroom dancing, children learn other skills, including conversation skills, dining skills, telephone etiquette and tips on being a polite guest.
Gollatz Cotillion and Social Programs
Gollatz Cotillion and Social Programs offers a variety of etiquette courses for children. The classes take place at different locations throughout the South Bay area, including The Belmar Hotel in Manhattan Beach. The classes are offered to children in kindergarten through grade eight. At the Gollatz Cotillion, children learn skills such as dining manners, posture, positive body language, phone etiquette, Internet etiquette and how to give a toast. Other classes the company hosts include 123 Manners in Minutes and Young and Polite Dining Class.
Please Pass the Manners
Please Pass the Manners provides classes on an assortment of topics, such as etiquette for country clubs, dining, parties and school. Classes take place at different locations throughout South Bay and are offered to children ages 5 to 18. Children learn skills through the etiquette classes, such as guest behavior, setting a table, telephone etiquette, table manners, writing thank you notes and conversation etiquette. Please Pass the Manners offers parents an opportunity to sit in on a class before enrolling their children.
Mindful Manners offers a two-day etiquette course to boys and girls ages 4 to 14. During the program, children learn social skills and manners through a combination of instruction, practice and role-playing. Some of the topics covered include greeting guests, table manners, holding utensils properly, appropriate conversation skills, manners at home and the importance of respecting other people. The classes are offered at a variety of venues, including churches, camps, schools and restaurants.
Read About the Library
Read books to your child that teach her about the library and library rules. For children ages 5 and older, "Manners in the Library," by Carrie Finn, teaches children about why the rules of the library are in place. For kids 6 and older, "Manners Matter in the Library," by Lori Ann Mortenson, includes information about book sharing etiquette, including returning books on time.
Role-play Library Etiquette
Chances are your child has a collection of books at home. Set up a desk near a book case and pretend to be a librarian to practice library etiquette. Make a paper library card and help him pick out books. Remind him to speak in quiet voices, always walk and to say "please" and "thank you." Show him to either put a book he is not interested in back on the shelf or in a re-shelving cart. Take turns, letting your child be the librarian. Talk loudly and see whether your child admonishes you to lower your voice.
Visit the Library
With the library etiquette rules fresh in his mind, take your child to the library and see how he does. Encourage him to ask the librarians politely for help if he needs to. Get a library card for your child and have him sign it. Demonstrate etiquette in other ways at the library based on the resources available. If you get on a computer with your child and a line of people are waiting, practice obeying the library's request to use the computers for only 20 minutes at a time.
Talk to a Librarian
See whether you can arrange a one-on-one meeting with a librarian for your child, where she can go over any library etiquette rules you might have missed. Sometimes hearing the rules from the adult that works there can have more of an effect on getting your child to follow them. If your child is old enough, perhaps she can also go over the Dewey decimal system as well.
Discuss standard etiquette that serves your child both personally and professionally. Standard etiquette includes punctuality, speaking clearly, listening attentively and observing basic hygiene so clothing and personal appearance look neat, advises the Binghamton University Career Development Center website.
Apply standard etiquette guidelines to the interview process to help your teenager understand how to conduct himself during a job interview. Encourage your teenager to learn basic information about the company prior to interviewing. Provide guidelines for dressing appropriately for an interview. Ensure that your teen arrives about 10 minutes early to the interview, shakes hands confidently, maintains eye contact and speaks directly during the interview.
Guide your teen to follow up after the interview, sending a thank-you card and calling the interviewer within a week after interviewing to demonstrate initiative and interest.
Encourage your teen to put his best foot forward in the workplace after receiving a job offer and starting a job. Remind him to follow dress codes for the work place, wearing neat and clean clothing or uniform, advises the University of Washington-Bothell website. He should project a positive and confident attitude. Tell him to arrive on time for a work shift, ready to work hard.
Help your teenager see the importance of respecting his supervisor and boss and working effectively with coworkers to ensure that he succeeds in the workplace. The workplace team needs strong and efficient members, willing to work hard for the good of the company and the customer. Encourage him to communicate effectively, speaking clearly and listening closely to others.
Remind your teen to follow workplace rules to get along with others and perform his job correctly. Often a workplace has specific rules regarding the use of technology and electronic devices -- ensure your teen understands the importance of following these guidelines.
Instruct your teen about the correct way to ask for time off or to submit notice of resignation, in accordance with workplace policies. Failure to follow these rules inconveniences others and may lead to an employer providing a less-than-positive reference.
South Jersey School of Etiquette
Located in Sicklerville, the South Jersey School of Etiquette offers a range of one-time and weekly classes for teens ages 13 through 18. Through ninth grade, students are divided by gender and taught appropriate manners and etiquette on everything from dining and greeting to using the cell phone; the course meets once a week for six weeks. For older teens, the school offers mixed-gender classes of 12 students on topics ranging from admissions interviews and advanced dining skills to the nuances of proper behavior at social functions.
Socially Savvy is an organization based in Moorestown, but it offers courses in a few of the more southern-lying towns, including Margate and Sewell. In addition to courses on dining and social functions, the school offers individual consultations for college admissions interviews. Unlike some other schools that break down lessons over a several-week course, the classes at Socially Savvy typically last one to two hours.
The Etiquette Institute of Southern New Jersey
The Etiquette Institute of Southern New Jersey offers faith-based modeling, charm and etiquette lessons for girls in elementary school through high school. Classes are offered in workshop-style formats and range in content from formal dances and dinners to public speaking, dating and dining. The stated goal of The Etiquette Institute is to build confidence in girls by giving them the training they need to conduct themselves as confident young women.
Esthers of Tomorrow
Esthers of Tomorrow offers a range of courses and workshops for girls of all ages through high school focusing on health and wellness to becoming an active member of the community. Teens can choose which workshops they attend based on their interest. Several of the class choices feature mother-daughter events that help mothers learn how to guide their daughters toward becoming confident, skilled young women.