Could your kids use a little more….class? While no child is perfectly-mannered, many can leave parents cringing at less-than-respectful or uncouth behavior. A new etiquette class for kids at the refined New York institution The Plaza is ready to school your child in all things proper, from how to hold a fork and knife, to meeting someone new and beyond. We dropped in for a class — please check out our report! (Thank you!)
According to Beaumont Etiquette’s founder, Myka Meier, “It’s never too young for little ones to begin learning good etiquette…because then it simply becomes second nature.” And she should know. Trained at an etiquette school in Switzerland, Meier taught business, dining and social etiquette to adults in London, with an emphasis on finessing situations in foreign countries and cultures.
After a move to New York, she’s schooling people stateside, with social, dining and business classes for adults at The Plaza Hotel. The program launched last fall, and classes have been filling up with millennials who want to be in the know for every first date and work event.
Now, Beaumont’s Youth Etiquette classes for 5-11 year olds and young adult classes for the older set (ages 12-17) are becoming as popular as their adult counterparts.
Start to Finish
The Plaza Hotel Finishing Program with Beaumont Etiquette is a series of group courses which are both educational and social, featuring refreshments from the legendary New York city hotel. Adding an extra element of fun to the youth classes is the the location: kids learn alongside peers in the Eloise Tea Room.
The Case for Class
Guess what? Spending a lot of time looking at a screen doesn’t make for the best manners. “We’re finding [kids] tend to lack some of the basic social skills needed to interact face to face,” says Meier. “These courses teach soft skills to instill confidence — ranging from how to shake hands while making eye contact, to how to introduce yourself and hold a conversation.”
According to Meier, having good etiquette simply means to be kind to others and to put other people first. “They’ll learn many lessons, but at the end of the day, if they leave understanding what the core of etiquette really means, that’s what is most important.”
What’s On the Manners Menu
While the idea of an etiquette class might sound boring and staid, these classes try to keep things fun and informative, with kids putting their newfound knowledge to work right away.
“We play warm up etiquette games, and then move into lessons [during which] they actually get to practice right then and there,” says Meier. For example, the children are served refreshments so that they can practice eating and using their new dining skills.
“We walk around the room, gently correcting how they are holding their cutlery, sitting and eating. We always teach by using positive reinforcement, so the children feel very accomplished when they leave and are excited to show their parents what they learned.” After the two-hour session children are given a takeaway flyer covering dining etiquette do’s with visual reminders.
Book for Better Manners
Intrigued? Upcoming sessions will take place on Wednesday, May 17th, Saturday July 15th and Thursday July 20th. (Later in the year, special holiday-related classes will take place, covering sticky situations that come with the the end of the year, like family gatherings and all they entail, and how to properly accept a present.)
Classes are two hours long and $125 per child. (If you feel your brood needs one-on-one instruction, Beaumont Etiquette offers private instruction as well. Inquire directly at beaumontetiquette.com.)
The Plaza Hotel Finishing Program with Beaumont Etiquette
768 5th Avenue at Central Park South
Would you send your child to an etiquette class? Tell us in the comments below!