Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Teatime for Children

National Hot Tea Month is the perfect time to have tea with children. Teatime is the perfect opportunity to teach children how to behave at the the table.
The secretary is set today for a Children's Tea.
"Children's Tea & Etiquette," by Dorothea Johnson, John Harney, and Ann Noyes is the perfect little book for those who want to breed good manners in young minds! This book is available on my sidebar under: "Miss Janice Recommends."From the the thank-you notes, Ms. Johnson takes the reader through Introductions at Tea, Taking Your Chair, Napkin Etiquette, Drinking Tea, Eating the Tea Foods, Leaving the Table, Using Magical Words, The History of Tea, and Recipes for the Adults.

Children should be taught how to sit at the table...Sit up straight, with the hands resting on the lap. The tea napkin {serviette} is picked up and unfolded on the lap, not above the table. A tea serviette is opened completely. Children should be taught to blot their lips with their wiping!

For children ages 3-5, serve a beverage like pink lemonade. It's important at this age that they learn how to hold the teacup and how to sip a beverage. For 6-8 year old children, you might serve a fruited tea at room temperature. For children 9 and up, you may serve a light hot tea.

Handling the Teacup:
Place the index finger through the handle, with the thumb placed on top of the handle to support the grip, and the second finger below the handle for added security. The next two fingers naturally follow the curve of the other fingers. It is considered an affection to raise the pinkie finger while sipping tea or any other beverage. Look into the teacup while sipping the beverage.
Savories, scones, and tea cakes are not necessary for 3-5 year-old children. It's best to serve them cookies/ cupcakes. For 6-8 year-old children, tea cakes, PBJ's, and fruit are more appropriate. For children ages 9 and up, a full course Afternoon Tea is de rigueur.

I placed a tea knife and fork at the setting, as this is the perfect time to teach children how to eat a cupcake with a knife and fork {we don't want to be messy, especially at teatime}.

There are two basic methods of handling & using table utensils at tea--the American style or the Continental style. You may teach your children one or both of the styles, but I believe it's easier for young children to learn the American style.

In both American & Continental style you cut your cupcake the same way. The fork is held in the left hand to secure the cake, and the knife is held in the right hand to cut the cake. Cut at the most one or two bites at a time.

In the American style, after you cut your cake, you then lay the knife on the tea plate, near the upper right edge with the cutting edge facing the center of the plate, and switch the fork to your right hand. Your left hand should remain in your lap unless you are cutting food. Holding the fork with the thumb over the end and the index finger underneath and the tines up, you then pick up the cake with the tines or slipping the cake onto tines and eat!

Be sure to rest your fork with tines at the 10 o'clock position and the handle at the 4 o'clock position when you are sipping your beverage. The knife rests on the upper right edge of your plate.

Remember to use the three-finger rule {use the thumb, middle, and index fingers} when picking up food with the fingers {cookies and cream puffs}:

Y'all have a tea-lite-ful day!!!


eas said...

Great tips Miss Janice. I just took my three year old to her first Teddy Bear Tea at the Ritz Carlton. She loved it and most importantly was well behaved! Thank you.

Glitterista said...

My parents treated me to a course on how to serve a proper tea when I was in late elementary school and I loved it! It is a wonderful way to teach manners and etiquette. ;)

Anastasia Schembri said...

Love this tea tutorial!! Hope you don't mind if I add it to The Charmed Life Daily today and tomorrow!!

Jan@southernjunkin' said...

Great tips and wonderful reminders for this fast paces life we live!! Thanks for sharing!

Tricia said...

Excellent tips, and that tea set is adorable!

My Cherie Amour said...

Miss janice,

I am left handed. Is is proper to leave the fork in the left hand after cutting with the knife? If I switch the fork to my right hand, I am afraid I would make a huge mess.

Miss Janice said...

My Cherie Amour,

Left-handed persons may reverse the positions.

TW said...

I loved this post! My father and grandmother came over from Ireland when he was a toddler to join my grandfather in the States. All these years later, tea is a tradition being passed down to my nieces and nephews!

I'm going to file the book suggestion away - it would be a perfect gift!



(P.S. I intend to do a post and link to your "Teatime for Children" soon - I'm sure my readers would find it informative and enjoyable.)

TW said...

I did get a quick post and a link over to your blog done! You're welcome to read it.
You can also click on the link in the post and read about my adventure of trying to get a hot cup of tea while camping! :)

I really appreciate the tips on proper etiquette!


Beth Dunn said...

Love your desk!

CutiiPromoRO said...

I like to teach my daughters how to serve tea! A perfect post, thanks.

Socially Savvy said...

What fun for children ... and adults too! xoJoy

Becky said...

I absolutely love this post! I wish you lived near me. I'd have you speak to my high school students. :)