During Birmingham Etiquette & Protocol Academy’s six-week course, participants learn all aspects of dining etiquette.
The holidays are here, which means bustling schedules, merriment, stress and plenty of shared meals with a host of individuals who, even if they pretend not to, will be watching to see if your children’s manners emulate Emily Post or The Lord of the Flies.
Are you ready? Children’s table manners need not be a contradiction in terms. Here to help is Beverly Carroway, president and founder of Birmingham Etiquette and Protocol Academy.
“I have had many parents say how their kids’ table manners are less than pleasant or even atrocious,” she said. “First, know that it is never too late to spruce up one’s manners. Second, understand that preparing your children before the whirlwind of holiday events sets in will be a lot less stressful for you both. Whether you are going to someone’s home or you are having guests in for holiday events, you can put your mind at ease knowing your child feels confident in knowing how to handle situations.”
From dining etiquette to social and communication skills, Birmingham Etiquette & Protocol Academy courses expose children to the skills necessary to enter any social situation with confidence and poise.
“Jacob had much better eye contact when speaking and the improvement in his table manners was tremendous!” said Heather Pilleteri, whose son Jacob recently completed a course. “So often, what I tell my kids goes in one ear and out the other. When they’re in a setting strictly about etiquette and when it involves other kids their age, they are more apt to listen. And it’s more fun than mom lecturing them!”
From lessons about proper behavior in both casual and formal settings, these courses are about confidence building as much as they are learning which fork to use.
“This goes beyond mastering the table or knowing how to eat,” Carroway said. “With gift giving and receiving during the holidays, for example, we want our children to know the importance of being thankful. Whatever they have received, the time and effort someone has taken to select that gift just for them is the important thing. Expressing their appreciation even if they don’t like the gift and saying something positive about it.”
Courses are taught in small groups at the Carroway home, where the hostess does not hold back her finery for fear of unpracticed hands damaging valuable items.
“I’ve never worried about someone running amok in my house,” said Carroway. “The children have a sense of respect-as they should-when then enter into other people’s homes. And in my home, I do go all out with the table setting; I want them to experience the best so they will be engaged by what they are learning.”
The lessons learned at Carroway’s dining room table seem to have real staying power.
“It’s one of the mysteries of life, but any instruction from an outside source is typically received from a child as more legitimate than the exact instruction from a parent,” said Academy client Cissy Goodspeed, whose son Gray, participated in a course. “Gray was so proud of himself. He even ‘taught’ us the correct way to fold our napkins; naturally we made sure we were very interested students.”
Birmingham Etiquette & Protocol Academy will offer a special mini-course on Holiday Table Etiquette & Dining Skills for Young Children (ages 6-12) on Dec. 1, from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Ruth’s Chris in Homewood. The course fee is $70 and includes a three-course lunch, a dining skills tutorial, an illustrated workbook and a certificate of achievement. For more information or to register your child, visit bhametiquette.com.
Rebecca to get back with me about adding a stronger Hoover connection -MM