You love your little darlings. Every move they make is precious, inspired and downright cute — until you trot them out in public.
Unfortunately, nothing screams a need for etiquette like a nose-picking, spaghetti-slurping, completely clueless youngster while at dinner with friends.
For parents looking to give their children — or even themselves — a quick course in modern manners, there is the Temecula-based Everyday Etiquette: California School of Manners.
“Etiquette is different than what it used to be, but we don’t have to lose it,” said Everyday Etiquette founder Angela Sturdivant.
Sturdivant, who has been teaching Temecula and Murrieta children their manners since 2001, said that her instructions offer a contemporary, realistic approach to etiquette.
“I try to be fun and relevant. We don’t worry so much about holding our pinky fingers out (while drinking tea),” Sturdivant said.
Sturdivant, informed by her years as an educator and extensive traveler, said her focus instead relies upon conveying fundamental principals of courtesy and civility.
“Everyday etiquette is really about making other people comfortable around you,” she said.
Sturdivant estimated that she has worked with over 2,000 children over the years in a variety of capacities and classes — including a four-week Etiquette Survival course, Little Miss Charm School, If I Were a Princess/Hero camps and more.
Even local Girl Scouts have lined up with Everyday Etiquette in order to earn their Social Butterfly patches where the girls learn how to behave at a sit-down dinner, write thank you notes and make conversation.
“The teenagers usually come to me with their arms crossed,” she said, laughing. “But I tell them, ‘this is not torture and what you learn here will last you for the rest of your life.’”
Among the life skills kids learn are proper phone and table manners, how to accept a gift and making friends.
Sturdivant’s work has also extended to adults who ask for refresher courses on professional etiquette to help them navigate the business world.
“People also come to me from outside the culture who want to learn about American culture,” she said.
Several classes are offered over the next few months to local children ages 5- 15. Personal consultations are available, as well.
Sturdivant said: “The is the most rewarding thing I have done. I have never felt so personally rewarded than I have with this work.”
To learn more or to sign up for classes, visit: www.everydayetiquette.info.
Kerri S. Mabee can be reached at email@example.com. Follow me on Twitter @kerrimabee.