Teach good party manners. When your kids are party guests, teach them to always RSVP to invitations, arrive and leave on time, come prepared to participate in planned activities (bringing a swimsuit to a pool party, for instance), be a good sport, talk to everyone there (not just people they already know), and defer to the host or hostess’ wishes.

When your kids are hosting a party, teach them to send invitations so guests will receive them 10 to 14 days before a party, never discuss the party in front of children who are not invited, be dressed and ready to greet guests by a half hour before the party is scheduled to start, greet guests as they arrive, sincerely thank each guest for each gift (whether or not they like the gift) verbally at the party and through a prompt, written thank-you note afterward. Also teach your children to be considerate houseguests.

Help your kids make and keep friends. Teach them to be amiable, loyal, encouraging, respectful, and thoughtful of others. Teach them good sportsmanlike conduct at games and practices (such as arriving on time, accepting officials’ decisions, refraining from booing or derogatory remarks, and shaking hands with players on the opposing team regardless of the outcome). Teach them to treat members of the opposite sex with respect (no sexual jokes or catcalling, boys holding doors open and chairs out for girls and women, etc.).

Adapted from Taming Your Family Zoo: Six Weeks to Raising a Well-Mannered Child, copyright 2005 by Donna Jones. Published by Fleming H. Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group, Grand Rapids, Mich., www.bakerpublishinggroup.com.

Donna Jones holds a B.A. in interpersonal communication from UCLA and is the cofounder and owner of Confidence & Courtesies, an etiquette course for kids. She’s been teaching children and teens manners since 1988 in both public and private schools and in department stores throughout California. Donna frequently speaks at women’s retreats and MOPS events and is also a featured Bible teacher on the Doing Life Together DVD series. Donna and her family live in south Orange County, California.