Etiquette Rules for Little Girl Tea Parties

A tea party is an effective fun way to learn appropriate social interaction.

If your little girl wants to have a tea party with friends, you can use this function to teach them some rules of etiquette. This is an opportune time for her to learn before the critical judgments regarding social errors intensify during teen years and beyond. If she doesn’t do everything perfect, it’s OK. At least they'll be learning and having fun.


You can help your child hand-address and prepare the invitations to her friends. She might be inclined to issue the invitations via text or while chatting at school, but for a tea party, the invitations must be written and delivered through the mail. She needs to include the time, date and type of event in the invitation. She could stipulate that her friends come dressed in colorful dresses to ensure they understand this is a dress-up event.

The Table

Tea service has specific etiquette that includes how to set the table. Have your daughter select a table where the food and beverages will sit. She can select a pretty white lace tablecloth or other pretty table covering. It’s permissible to adorn the center of the table with flowers or decorations. The tea service is placed on one end of the table with the tea pitcher or kettle on a tray and cups and saucers or glasses available to the left of the tray. Place the food at the other end of the table with tongs for finger foods in order of muffins, sandwich triangles and cookies or cakes. If the girls will sit down for tea, she can prepare tent cards to indicate where each person will sit. A fork isn’t required at each plate if the foods don’t have messy fillings.

Greeting Guests

As each guest arrives, have your daughter greet her friend and introduce her to any other guest that the new arrival doesn’t know. The girls can chat informally until all of the guests have arrived. If some of the guests will be strangers to other guests, you could help your child plan some activities to help her guests interact and get acquainted, such as share their favorite hobby or explain which movie they like best and why. Once all of the guests arrive, your daughter can invite the girls to serve themselves the finger food while she pours the tea into cups or glasses, depending on whether she serves the tea cold or hot.

Sharing Tea

The girls can sit and share their food and conversation or mingle, as long as they can do so without spilling the food and drink. For young girls, a seated tea is probably easiest to manage, just as cold tea will be easier and safer than having to keep a kettle hot. If you practice sitting and moving elegantly with your daughter before the tea, she can demonstrate those skills, or she might ask you to model the appropriate behavior, such as smoothing down her skirt before sitting or gliding across the floor instead of skipping or running.