'Tis the season for lots of holiday cheer. And lots of visiting. Whether you are visiting an aunt and uncle for an afternoon, staying over at the grandparent's house, bringing cookies to the neighbors, or attending a festive holiday party, chances are your kiddos will need to be on their best behavior.
With six kiddos myself, I know first hand that a family with little ones can easily be a bit intimidating, as we enter someone else's territory, but with some ground rules (and perhaps a bribe or two) our kiddos can surprise even the most reluctant host. Yes, it is possible!
The important thing is to establish some rules when preparing for special visits. Make sure your kiddos understand that they are not only required to act like good kids, but they are to truly be good kids. Here are some rules we've set before our children, to insure that we are invited back again next year:
Be respectful and use your manners. Saying please and thank you is just a start. Going above these simple words can make a world of difference. Your kids' ability to be respectful of all adults present is key to a good visit.
Keep noise at appropriate levels. Now, I understand that this is a bit difficult for the younger ones, but my older kids know that when we are visiting Great Grandma they are to keep their voices down. However, when we are at a party and playing a game, for instance, it's okay to get excited and shout out a time or two. Don't assume that your kids know what this appropriate level is, but be sure to tell them!
Abide by the rules of the house. This is an important one. While it may be okay to walk through our house with our shoes on, Aunt Sue may have a rule to take your shoes off when entering her home. Be sure you and your kids are familiar with your hosts' rules, so you don't cause waves when visiting.
Be grateful. This is a big one, especially when gifts are involved. Showing gratefulness, for any gesture or gift, is always very important and a valuable element of proper etiquette.
I know my kids certainly aren't perfect. They will forget. Or simply get carried away. And that's okay -- they are kids. BUT, I also know that if I have a good talk with them, before we arrive at the much-anticipated event, we will have loads more fun and things will go much more smoothly. For all of us!