It's never too early to teach children etiquette and manners, and a tea party is an excellent way to teach them to little girls. Many love the idea of getting dressed up and drinking from fancy teacups, as they have seen in their favorite TV shows, films and books. Plan a tea party for your little girls and their friends that incorporates the novelty of a fancy tea party with etiquette rules that can benefit them for a lifetime.
Dressing nicely is a part of having good etiquette. Little girls typically love to dress up and will have fun picking out dresses at the store with you. Send out party invitations with a request for the guests to dress up for the party. You can give them suggestions on traditional tea party outfits and accessories, including pretty dresses, fancy hats, gloves and pearl necklaces. You could also pick up a variety of girly dress-up accessories from a costume shop that the guests can put on when they arrive at the party.
Set up the table for the tea party and place name cards at each table setting. Have the little girls find their names but tell them to wait to sit down. Teach the girls that the guests are to wait for the host to pull out her chair first, before they can sit. They should also all enter their seats on the left so they do not bump into one another. The girls should then neatly place their napkin in their lap. The host is to pour the tea. Your children may technically be the hosts, but in the case of young children, adults should pour the tea into their cups. Teach the girls to ask politely for a cup of tea, using "please" and "thank you." Remind the girls to place their hands in their laps when they are not using them.
Drinking Tea Etiquette
Show the girls how to lift the tea cups to their lips by holding the handle with their index finger and thumb, with the middle finger supporting the handle from underneath. Despite what they may have seen on TV, it is not proper etiquette to hold their pinkie fingers in the air. Tell the girls to pay attention to their tea when they are drinking to avoid spilling. Show the girls how to take small sips without slurping. It is a good idea to serve tea that is warm, but not boiling hot to prevent them from burning themselves. Alternatively, you can serve hot chocolate or warm apple cider. You should also teach the girls to ask for food plates to be passed to them instead of reaching over someone. Most tea party snacks are finger foods, but remind the girls to eat over their plates and refrain from talking with food in their mouths.
Teach the girls that at a tea party, it is rude to talk about certain subjects, no matter how funny the topic. Anything related to bodily functions and fluids is inappropriate. Words such as "gross" and "nasty" are not polite either. Steer the girls to neutral topics, such as the weather, school and interesting things they have done recently. When it is time to go, make sure the girls thank the hosts for inviting them. Later, have your kids write thank-you notes to each of their guests that you can mail the next day.
Based in Los Angeles, Zora Hughes has been writing travel, parenting, cooking and relationship articles since 2010. Her work includes writing city profiles for Groupon. She also writes screenplays and won the S. Randolph Playwriting Award in 2004. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in television writing/producing and a Master of Arts Management in entertainment media management, both from Columbia College.