How can you help your grandchildren become well mannered? Take them to tea. Children learn by doing and if you provide the preparation, place and positive reinforcement (in the form of tea sandwiches, pastries and compliments on their good behavior) you will not be disappointed. Here are some ideas for how and where to have the perfect tea party in the Washington, DC area.
Before making reservations at your local tea house, introduce your grandchild to the concept of good etiquette and the tea party. Several books provide a ‘spoonful of sugar’ approach to teaching manners and the concept of the tea party.
Many books on manners and tea parties line the shelves of bookstores and libraries. One little girl we know loves Emilie Barnes’ “A Little Book of Manners: Courtesy & Kindness for Young Ladies.” But manners are for boys, too, as you’ll find in Emilie and Bob Barnes’ “A Little Book of Manners for Boys: A Game Plan for Getting Along with Others.” Though these books may not directly focus on the afternoon tea, they are a great way to introduce the concept of civil and genteel behavior. There are also many books that focus on how to plan and throw a tea party.
Practice makes perfect, so do your trial runs at home. Join the children when they hold tea parties for their friends or dolls. Make afternoon tea a part of the days you spend with them. The tradition of afternoon teas with grandma will serve up excellent rehearsal time for putting good manners to use, but provide lifelong memories.
While you’re prepping your poppet for the big tea event, begin the search for where you should go. Most of the major hotels (The Four Seasons, The Willard, The Mayflower, The Ritz-Carlton just to name a few) have high teas. But there are many tea rooms in the Washington Metropolitan area that offer varying levels of experience from which you can choose. Take your grandchild on a virtual tour of those available near you and select one together. Make sure to check for price and whether or not they are appropriate for children. Then make your reservations and have the tea time of your life.
Do you have recommendations for tea rooms or tea houses to share? Please post a comment below.