Use Christmas as an opportunity to teach good manners.
Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays! If you’re having a family gathering for the holidays, be sure that the children have have received a crash course in guest etiquette. Make sure they know their table manners.
If somebody gives them a lousy gift — or perhaps a toy or a book they already have — teach them to be gracious and thankful.
If you’re spending Christmas with the children, at another family’s home, remind the children about being on their best behavior, being polite (“Thank you” and “May I”), and about showing patience and good manners at the dinner table. Don’t chew with your mouth open. No burping or belching. No food games.
Keep your cell phones off during the holiday celebration, especially if you’re in somebody else’s home.
When your holiday celebrations conclude, and the dishes are washed and put away, spend a few moments with your children reminding them of the proper post-holiday etiquette. Have the kids write a separate thank you note to anybody who hosted them at their home for the holiday.
Following a few general etiquette rules are not only good parenting, but they’re also a good strategy for custody and visitation cases. Children remember the rules and procedures they’re taught, and in the presence of a psychologist, an evaluator or a judge who interviews them as part of a custody hearing, kids are likely to explain some of the good etiquettes they followed during the holidays. When they do so, you will be characterized as a good parent!