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Mrs. McVeigh's Manners: Teaching Kids Good Manners and Etiquette

An expert on etiquette and manners shares advice on how to raise children with good manners. Read answers to your questions about behaving at the dinner table, proper etiquette, and more.
Child acting

My kids are 6, 5, and 3 years old. They love to put on a big show when people are over. They assume that because someone is around, they have free range to do whatever they'd like. How do I get them to behave when company is over without looking like a mean parent?
- Becky Wilson

Tell your kids that you love their shows, but explain the guests' time is limited. If they would like to put on a show, then it will be scheduled for a specific time. You can also try role-playing by pretending you are a guest. Knock on a door and instruct your children to have a conversation with you first before being excused to leave and play. Encourage the 6-year-old to take the lead in entertaining the other children. Also, try to have something new or extra fun for them to do when you have a guest over. Practice several times and help them look forward to greeting a real guest.

Elise McVeigh is the founder of Mrs. McVeigh's Manners. She writes a weekly manners column at http://www.MrsMcVeighsManners.com and broadcasts a regular show at http://www.blogtalkradio.com. McVeigh resides in Dallas with her husband and three sons, ages 11, 9, and 7.