Monday, January 30, 2012

Children's Etiquette for Making Introductions

Maura Graber with client Bob Phillips

Do your children "do as you do" when it comes to "How do you do?"




Teach children etiquette early to 
help them get along with others.

Teaching children basic rules of etiquette, such as how to make a proper introduction, gives them a foundation of good social skills that helps in forming and maintaining friendships. Etiquette expert Maura Graber advocates teaching children at around the ages of 3 or 4 to make a proper introduction. If you start etiquette lessons when children are young, they do not develop bad habits and can approach social situations with confidence as they will know what to do. Young children who can make a proper introduction often endear themselves to adults and the positive feedback children receive encourages them to be active socially.

  1. Non-Verbal Gestures

    • Teach children to approach the adult with a smile. Graber indicates many etiquette mistakes will be forgiven if children show they are friendly and attempting to be polite. It’s important to make eye contact to show your good intentions. Coach the child to stand up straight and approach the situation with enthusiasm. Have children practice smiling and maintaining eye contact with each other, with a parent, teacher or with a favorite stuffed animal. Give surprise awards in class when you see children approach each other with good posture, smile and eye contact. Praise children who are struggling to remember these three non-verbal cues by noticing when they do remember one or more cues and sharing how happy you are to see them improving.

    Use of Titles

    • Call adults by a title such as "Mr.," "Miss," "Mrs." or if uncertain of a woman’s marital status, use "Ms." when introducing her. The Family Education website advises that children introduce themselves to a stranger by their surname. It is permissible however, to use a first name if the adult asks to be addressed in this more informal style. Your children can also state a family rule, if one exists, that they should call all adults by their surnames. Introduce the person with the highest status first. Older persons, teachers, professors or distant relatives for example, should be introduced to your parents. Therefore, a child would say, "Dr. Dennis, please meet my parents, Mr. and Mrs. Smith."

    What to Say

    • Teach children to make a brief explanation about how they know the people they are introducing. If they are introducing their teacher to their parents, for example, they would say, “I would like you to meet my teacher, Mrs. Hill. Mrs. Hill, these are my parents, Mr. and Mrs. Smith.” If children are being introduced to someone, they should make a brief, pleasant comment such as, “Nice to meet you.” Encourage them to speak in a clear, confident manner so everyone can hear what they are saying.

    What to Do

    • Children should stand when meeting an adult but remain seated when meeting someone their own age. Standing is a sign of respect used to defer to those who are older or who have more status, such as a congressman or member of the clergy. Teach them to extend their hand fully and shake hands firmly. Have children practice standing and shaking hands so they develop a style that comes naturally.

Read more: Children's Etiquette for Making Introductions |

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Royal Garden Party Etiquette

Garden parties have been held at Buckingham Palace since the 1860s, when Queen Victoria instituted what were known as ‘breakfasts.’  More like late lunches in the afternoon, the number of garden parties held at Buckingham Palace was increased from two to three a year, in the 1950s.
Garden parties are among the most relaxed and informal Royal events one can attend. With tea, cakes, good weather and a beautiful garden to stroll in, the day can seem quite festive without going over the top.
Every summer, the Queen hosts a garden party at the Palace of Holyroodhouse, in Edinburgh. Three or more garden parties are hosted by her at Buckingham Palace, as well. Over 30,000 people usually attend these parties.

Originally taking the place of presentation parties attended by debutantes, the garden parties now are attended by people from all walks of life, having evolved into a unique way of recognizing and rewarding those who are involved in public service.
Guests need to dress up for their special day, and etiquette dictates what attendees can wear. Women are to wear a proper afternoon dress, with hats, or "fascinators".

Gentlemen are to wear "morning dress" or "lounge suits". "National dress" and uniform are also appropriately worn to these garden parties, however military uniforms are only allowed to be worn by active members of armed forces and those members do need permission from a commanding officer to wear them to such an event.

The traditional full morning dress, aka "top hat and tails," is a morning coat, waistcoat, pants and a top hat. This look evolved after the French Revolution in the late 18th Century, when men looked for a dignified way of dressing that was not reminiscent of any aristocracy. Masculine, and with no embellishment, it soon caught on in popularity.

According to fashion historians, full morning dress is "a standard black morning coat matched with cashmere striped trousers and dove grey single or double breasted waistcoat. The neck wear is in grey or silver tones."

In contrast, a "lounge suit" is garments made from the same cloth, consisting of at least a jacket and trousers but can include a waistcoat and can be worn with a tie. Since the 1960s, fashion designers have tried to revolutionize the man's suit with more vibrant colors and innovative ways of cutting the suit's jacket and pants, but subtlety in color and cut works best at these garden parties. Etiquette also dictates that is it not fashionable for men to wear their wives fascinators in public, as shown in a photo experiment from an Australian Garden Party, even you think they look fetching!

The detailed description of a Royal Garden Party below, is from the official website of the British Monarchy-

Garden Parties take place between 4.00 pm and 6.00 pm, although the Palace gates are open from about 3.00 pm. The Queen and The Duke of Edinburgh, accompanied by other members of the Royal Family, enter the garden at 4.00 pm, when the National Anthem is played by one of the two military bands playing selections of music during the afternoon.

After the playing of the National Anthem, The Queen and The Duke of Edinburgh, together with other members of the Royal Family, circulate among the guests through 'lanes' which are peculiar to Royal garden parties. Each takes a different route and random presentations are made so that everyone has an equal chance of speaking to Her Majesty and members of her family. The Queen and other members of the Royal Family eventually arrive at the Royal tea tent, where they meet further guests.

In both London and Edinburgh there are tea tents for other guests. Tea and other refreshments are served from long buffet tables. The quantities served are enormous. At a typical garden party, around 27,000 cups of tea, 20,000 sandwiches and 20,000 slices of cake are consumed. Some 400 waiting staff are involved in the serving.

At about 6.00 pm, The Queen and other members of the Royal Family leave the garden, when the National Anthem is played to mark the end of the party.

At Buckingham Palace the Yeoman of the Guard, Gentlemen at Arms and Gentlemen Ushers are on duty. At the Holyroodhouse garden party the Royal Company of Archers and the High Constables of the Palace are on duty.

The Queen and Duke arriving at a Palace Garden Party

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

The RSVP Institute of Etiquette 2012 Co-Ed, Sunday Youth Classes in Etiquette at Historic Graber Olive House in Ontario

Points for prizes are earned by lessons learned...

Sharing a laugh about bad telephone manners...

Working on dining skills...

  The RSVP Institute of Etiquette is pleased to now offer 2012 coed, Sunday youth classes in etiquette, manners & social skills, at the historic Graber Olive House in Ontario, beginning February 5th. The six one & a half hour classes, are $85.00 per student.  The fee covers all 9 hours of instruction, foods & handouts. Returning students are eligible for a discount!   

Youth Classes from 1:00 to 2:30 p.m.

The six 1 & 1/2 hour classes will focus on:
• Key Skills~ Basic Social Graces, incl. Introductions & Phone Manners

• Dining Skills and Table Manners (w/foods to practice dining skills) 

• Manners for Home & Abroad: Cultural Diversity & Respect for Others

• Deflecting Peer Pressure, Tech Etiquette, “Thank you" notes & RSVPs

• Tricks to developing great posture & grooming habits, & other tools that open doors, build friendships, make parents and teachers smile!

Instructors: Maura Graber and
                                 Demita Usher
Call RSVP Institute: 909 923-5650  

Outside 909 Area Code: 800 891-RSVP
Graber Olive House: 909-983-1761 


Method of Payments accepted-Visa/MC/AX /Paypal  
Please email for Paypal instructions

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Downton Abbey and Etiquette Sleuthing versus The Historians, or Hysterians, of the British Press

As this was such a popular discussion by the email we've had, and as Season 2 of Downton Abbey is returning to the U.S. on January 10th, I thought it should re-posted.

As a fan of the critically acclaimed and popular Downton Abbey, I shared my DVD copy with fellow etiquette enthusiast, guest blogger and consultant, Demita Usher. She enjoyed it as thoroughly as I, and we have been waiting for the second season of the show to be broadcast in the U.S.  As fans of the show, we have a few words for those making criticism in the British press...

Imagine our surprise upon seeing the following headline in The Daily Telegraph; Downton Abbey: historical inaccuracies and mistakes plaguing ITV show or this one in the U.K. Daily Mail; Downton shoots itself in the foot as gun enthusiast gives both barrels over historical inaccuracies

Historians, (or could they possibly be hysterians?), make numerous assertions regarding the historical accuracy of the series. One article quotes "historian and broadcaster, A.N. Wilson", as saying, "... the portrayal of country house life was sanitised fantasy."  Whereas Julian Fellowes, Oscar-winning creator of Downton Abbey, strongly defended the show's script by saying that he believes the "the programme is pretty accurate". Adding, "The real problem is with people who are insecure socially, and they think to show how smart they are by picking holes in the programme to promote their own poshness and to show that their knowledge is greater than your knowledge."  Indeed!

Now, we are not trying to be posh, nor do we want to show "how smart we are", we simply would like to defend Julian Fellowes, by providing a bit of historical perspective. As for those who are offering their comments and criticisms to the press regarding the authenticity of the clothing for a local hunt, the road sign, aerial attached to a house, etc... we won't quibble with you on those points.  We will simply discuss the criticism of cultural terminology and popular common phrases in use during the Edwardian period.

Hysterian Assertion #1- The word "boyfriend" was not used during this time.

Historian Actuality shows the phrase is found in the following: Official report of debates Council of Europe. Parliamentary Assembly, Council of Europe, page 470 (1895): "... from yesterday's edition of The Times of London which states, 'A woman who joined a company run by fundamentalist Christians was required to sign an undertaking that she would not live with her boyfriend."

From Wenderholme: A story of Lancashire and Yorkshire By Philip Gilbert Hamerton, Page 301, (1876): "This cheered Edith's heart considerably, but still there was a certain moisture in her eyes as she bade farewell to her boyfriend."

From The life and remains of Douglas Jerrold By Blanchard Jerrold, Douglas William Jerrold Page 331 (1859): "My early boyfriend, Laman Blanchard, and Kenny Meadows, a dear friend too, whose names have become musical in the world's ear, were of that society — of that knot of wise and jocund men ..."

Hysterian Assertion #2- The Phrase "get shafted" was not used until the 1960's.

Historian Actuality shows the phrase is found in the following from: Debates: official report, Volume 2, Canada House of Commons (1888): "I do not know what assurance can be given that people can be guaranteed that they do not get shafted, to the favour of some other group."

Hysterian Assertion #3- Footman Thomas Barrow, played by Rob James-Collier, used the words "get knotted" in the October 9 episode

Historian Actuality shows the phrase is found in: The Westminster Review, Volume 124, Page 402 (1885): In foreign affairs, when they get knotted, a Special Commissioner is appointed to report upon the situation, and to advise as to means of unravelling the tangled skein of affairs.

Hysterian Assertion #4- Head housemaid Anna Smith (Joanne Froggatt) told John Bates (Brendan Coyle) in last week's drama set in 1917 "So everything in the garden is rosy?"

Historian Actuality shows the phrase is found in the following from: Fraser's magazine, Volume 19 By Thomas Carlyle, page 606 (1879): He looked so rosy, so cheerful, so placid, such a picture of rewarded philosophy and virtue, surely he must be the happiest of mortals.

From: Vanity Fair: A novel without a hero, By William Makepeace Thackeray, Page 95, (1845): The honest Irish maid-servant, delighted with the change, asked leave to kiss the face that had grown all of a sudden so rosy.

From: The complete works of William Shakespeare By William Shakespeare, Johnson: Page 556, (1863): Me of my lawful pleasure she restrain'd, And pray'd me, oft, forbearance: did it with A pudenc-y so rosy, the sweet view on't Might vvelghave warm'd old Saturn; that I thought er As chaste as unsunn'd snow :—O, all the devils! (And Shakespeare actually wrote this over 200 years earlier!)
Hysterian Assertion #5- "... some viewers have baulked at the use of the word "boyfriend", as well as the concept of a "professional woman", which is used to describe a maid who wants to leave domestic service to become a secretary." We find the latter half of that statement most amusing, as there are so many, many references to the term "professional women" in newspapers and in books from the 1800s. Too many to choose from, so we picked the cream of the crop, and they are as follows...

Historian Actuality We will gladly cite all of them for any readers asking, but we feel that the article in an 1898 New York Times, referencing the spirited ongoing debate in the pages of U.K.'s The Daily Telegraph, titled "Should Wives Work?  Opinions of English Men & Women-What an American Woman Thinks About It" quite plainly spells it out, especially in the sixth paragraph in Part 1 posted here.  It quotes a British reader's comment in The Daily Telegraph, "Several professional women, talking sensibly of the subject, say that their business life will make them more careful in the choice of a husband ..."

Or then there is the article from New Zealand's The Auckland Star newspaper from 1899.  One of the paragraphs in a story by a London correspondent on the recent happenings at The International Women's Congress, London July 14 is actually titled "The Professional Woman".

So it makes us wonder what exactly qualifies contributors to be called "historians".  Demita Usher and I wouldn't dare refer to ourselves as "historians".  There is so much we do not know.  However, we are "history enthusiasts" and we certainly loved Downton Abbey here across the pond.  It is with great anticipation that we wait to watch the second season of the program, and in the meantime, comments made by your historians, or "hysterians" if you will, have kept us entertained while we wait.

But don't fret Great Britain, as I also stumbled onto this headline; Kate Middleton Named 2011's Best-Mannered Person, Kim Kardashian Slammed as "Most Ill-Mannered" Kudos to Kate!