On a recent trip to Cancun I watched a little boy of about 4 get up from the table to go to the washroom with his mother.  Miraculous? Not so much. But what did cause my  jaw to drop? He folded his napkin and placed it on his chair as he left.

Dining Out

Dining at the Ritz Carlton is less painful when kids have learned the lessons at home

It’s the kind of thing he probably didn’t teach himself. Clearly he’s being raised in a house where parents have exposed him to this small but genteel trait that will serve him well down the road.

You don’t have to be wealthy or even take the kids on an international trip to prep them for 5- star travel.

My parents did it with trips to Swiss Chalet and threats of shipping me off to a northern finishing school – something they could never have afforded or ever truly had the inclination to do – but it worked.

Later, when as a lawyer I had to attend dinners and client meetings, there was no fear of which fork to use. I could concentrate instead on making the right impression and enjoying the meal.

Now I’m trying to teach my kids the same. The nature of my job means that I’m often invited to fancy schmancy hotels and dinners and if the kids are with me, they come too.  To make those moments less harrowing, we try to expose them to restaurant eating (bread plate on the left is yours, drink on the right) , hotel-staying (no you can’t run down the hall screaming) and airplane etiquette (no seat-kicking and easy with the table tray slams) in less stressful situations.

Eight years later it seems to be working. The kids don’t seem to ever be uncomfortable in the places we visit. They are relaxed enough that they get to enjoy the experience and well-behaved enough that their dad and I can do the same.

All in all I think we’ve been successful. Though I have to admit there was a moment recently when I wondered if we may have done it too well.;)

A little too comfortable?

What about at your house? What steps are you taking to prep your kids for good behaviour when you travel?