Manners for Success: Back To School

It’s that time again! Teachers are preparing, kids are dreading, and parents are anticipating…back to school! It’s hard to believe that Summer holiday is already over. Today, we’ll look at some important manners to refresh for kids to have a fun and successful school year.back-to-school-conceptual-cube-207658 Teach children manners at home to take with them back to school, don’t expect the school  teacher to do everything. Prepare your children ahead of time. A great way to teach and assess comprehension with younger children is to role play different scenarios and events. This is not only a fun way to learn, but will also increase the chance of them, remembering the correct way to handle a situation when it arises. There are 4 main categories to cover with children and teens:

Manners on the Bus

  1. Sit down and stay in your seat until you arrive at school/home.
  2. Do not yell or throw things.
  3. Be kind to others, especially new students.

Manners in the Classroomapple-blur-book-stack-256520

  1. Say please and thank you.
  2. Do not talk to your friends while your teacher is talking.
  3. Keep your phone put away during class.
  4. Raise your hand if you have a question.
  5. If your teacher corrects your behavior, do not throw a tantrum.

Manners on the Playground

  1. Do not bully others (Bullying is the same as teasing, making fun, pranks, mean words, touching, or taking someone’s things).
  2. Do not allow others to bully you. (Always find an adult if you feel like you’re being bullied)
  3. Share toys and take turns with equipment.

Manners for the Cafeteria

  1. Say please and thank you.
  2. Do not talk with food in your mouth.
  3. Throw your trash away, do not leave it on the table.
  4. Do not throw food.
  5. Be friendly to everyone, especially new students.


Taking time to refresh children and teens on basic manners at home will set them up for a successful school year. Their teachers and classmates will benefit as well. When children/teens ask why these manners are important, there are 3 main reasons to give them.

  • It will make you a more likeable person
  • It will set you apart in a good way
  • It will give you a boost in confidence

Happy School Year!

Paige Baldwin


Beach Etiquette


This past week, my husband and I celebrated our first wedding anniversary on Panama City Beach. It was such a wonderful time. We got to explore a few beaches, try several new restaurants, go on a pirate ship cruise, and much more. We made beautiful memories and came home feeling relaxed and thankful.

While we were there I overheard several conversations, and witnessed a couple cringe worthy scenes. I thought we’d look at some basic etiquette to get us going in the right direction for memorable beach vacation. After all, there’s nothing more relaxing than laying in the sun and hearing the ocean waves flirt with the warm sand. ♥

Beach Etiquette:

1.) Don’t make fun of others.
There are enough people in this world pointing fingers and “body shaming”. Do not


become one of those people. It’s rude, unmannered, and shows ignorance.

2.) Follow the rules
Just because it’s a vacation does not give any of us a right to disregard the rules. If the rules say no eating on the beach, do not eat on the beach.

3.) Don’t leave trash
There are plenty of trash bins scattered through out the beach. Take 2 minutes and walk your garbage to be bin. Leave nothing but footprints.

4.) Keep your music to yourself
Everyone has a different taste in music. Keep your music low, or use earbuds, out of respect and courtesy for others.

5.) Watch your language
Please respect the families with children on the beach and watch the language you use. For that matter, please have respect for yourself and watch your language. It’s low class and uncouth to drop swear words into your sentence. It discredits anything you say and you will lose respect.


6.) Watch your kids and pets
Don’t be the parent letting their unruly children and pets go bother other people and disrupt their vacations. Teach your children beach etiquette as well and everyone will have a much better time. Keep your pets on a leash. Some people have allergies or fear of animals and don’t want Bowser coming up and licking their unsuspecting face.

7.) Don’t feed the birds
Most beaches will have this as a posted rule (see #2). Even if they don’t have it posted, avoid feeding the birds. It’s harmful to them and it can damage their ability to hunt their own food resulting in starvation long after you’re gone.

8.) Don’t get drunk
Remember the one drink rule? It’s ok to have one if you know your limit. Do not get drunk on a public beach. It’s rude to others and dangerous to yourself.

9.) Don’t smoke
Even if there are no rules against it, please don’t smoke. There are a lot of asthmatic people who don’t need a respiratory event while they’re on vacation. Also, cigarette smoke and butts do damage to wildlife and nature. Please wait until you’re in a specially designated are to smoke.

10.) Watch your swimsuit for “slips”


Losing your swim top or bottom in the ocean is not funny or cute. Unless you’re on a nude beach, be sure and wear an appropriate swim suit. This shows respect to yourself and those around you.

11.) Don’t shake sand/water everywhere
If you’re going to shake out of hair or beach towel, be sure and do it away from others. You don’t want the wind carrying your mess right into someone else’s face or drink.

The Beach is such a wonderful place for relaxation, boosting Vitamin D, and just unwinding. Please be courteous and treat others as you would want yourself and your children treated. With those tips in mind, pack your sunscreen and swimsuit and head to the beach! The ocean is calling!


Happy Beaching! Paige Baldwin

Tips for the Wedding Guest

Have you ever been faced with an invitation to a wedding and you didn’t know what to do? Maybe it’s been a while since you’ve attending a wedding and you don’t know whether or not the rules have changed. I’ve been there. Within the past year, we’ve been invited to 11 weddings. Y’all, before I met my husband I had only ever been to 3 weddings in my 26 years of life. (Yes, my husband is an extreme extrovert with an amazing social life.) Naturally, I had to read up on wedding etiquette. I studied it front to back and became obsessed to the point where he threatened not to take me. It’s quite a funny scene to think back on.

With wedding season is in full swing, this is the perfect time to remind ourselves of a few important wedding etiquette rules that haven’t gone out of style.


1.) Do RSVP before the deadline. The couple needs a headcount so they can reserve seating, catering, and favors.

2.) Don’t wear white. Of all the fashion rules that are no longer relevant, this one still is. Unless the Bride herself has requested all guests wear white (which I have seen once) please leave that color for her. RobertsBaldwin00416

3.) Do be on time. 10-15 minutes prior to ceremony start time is recommended. Don’t be the person walking in at the same time as the bride.

4.) Don’t take pictures during the ceremony. (and be discreet about photography after. Whatever you do, don’t get in the professional photographer’s way.)

5.) Don’t post pictures before the bride and groom (or photographer in some cases). Posting pictures of yourself and your friends is fine, but reserve photos of the Bride and Groom for the special couple themselves.

6.) Don’t get drunk. If there’s a bar, drink responsibly and do not cause a scene. If the couple choose to have a dry wedding for religious reasons, but you just have to have your flask, please be respectful and discreet about drinking.

RobertsBaldwin003787.) Don’t verbally compare the decorations to the last wedding you went to. Everyone has a different style, and much more important, everyone has a different budget.

8.)  Don’t criticize the food. Someone paid a lot of money to feed you. Be appreciative.

9.) Do get up and dance. Don’t sit there and sulk at your table. Even if you’re not a great dancer (raising my hand) anyone can at least learn the Cupid Shuffle. It’ll get your blood pumping and give you some energy for the remainder of the party.

10.) Do keep the chit-chat with the Bride and Groom to a minimum. There will be a host of people wanting to talk to them and the couple will have a lot on their minds. Offer congratulations and love, but don’t sit there and discuss every detail with them while in the receiving line.

11.) Do talk with your tablemates. Chances are you’ll make some new friends! You will have a much better time compared to if you just sit there sullen and bored.



12.) Do sign the guestbook. The Bride and Groom will have a hard time remembering every detail about the guests. They will appreciate having a record of who was there.


I love attending weddings now. And I can *mostly* attend with no anxiety. (There’s still that gut sinking feeling of oh no! I’m going to clash with the wedding colors! It’s ok. It won’t be the end of the world.) Weddings are a great time to let your hair down, mingle, and have a fantastic time. Just so long as we do it with class and consideration.

Happy Wedding Season!


***For Brides and Wedding Proffesionals, check out our Wedding Etiquette Seminar

Do Manners Matter? Part 3: Dining Etiquette

Dining etiquette is, by far, my favorite to teach. I especially enjoy teaching young children to set tables correctly. My 6 year nephew recently learned how to position napkins, knives, and forks and it made him so proud to see his work. Some may deem dining etiquette unnecessary, but I wholeheartedly disagree. There are many reasons why I feel the way I do, but I would like to share the top three with you.  silver.jpg

  1. A place for everything and everything in its place. This also applies to setting a table. When we practice discipline in the way we complete a task (such as table setting), we are improving our character. A disciplined character shows that you have self-respect. “Knowledge will give you power, but character respect” –Bruce Lee
  2. We are constantly making impressions. Everything we do, or say, leaves an impression behind for someone else to interpret. When we practice good table manners and dining etiquette, we are leaving behind positive impressions and therefore gaining the respect of those around us. Respect often opens up opportunities that the best education cannot.
  3. Being neat and orderly clears clutter from our minds and lifts our spirits. This leads to a more grateful and satisfying life, which lead to improved health.

The two main tables I set for company are breakfast/brunch and dinner. We’re going to look at these two tables today and talk about proper positioning.


Breakfast/Brunch setting includes: Breakfast plate, bread plate, coffee/tea cup and saucer, water glass, juice glass, fork, knife, spoon, teaspoon, and napkin

To set a breakfast table, clean table with washcloth and dry thoroughly. Dress table with tablecloth, placemats, or just a table runner (not pictured). Use your thumb knuckle as a guide to place the edge of you plate 1 in from the edge of the table. To the left of the plate, place your napkin and fork (for breakfast it is acceptable for the napkin to be placed under the fork). To the left of your plate, from the inside out, place your knife (blade in), your table spoon, then your teaspoon. Above the spoons, place your coffee/tea cup and saucer, left to the upper left place your juice glass, then you water glass. (For Brunch, you may add a champagne flute to the upper right of the juice glass.) Finish with placing your bread/muffin plate directly above your fork.

Dinner (Formal)

Formal dinner setting includes: Dinner plate, salad plate, bread plate, soup bowl, water glass, red wine glass (can be used for non-alcoholic beverage), white wine glass (optional), butter knife, salad fork, dinner fork, knife, teaspoon, soup spoon, napkin, dessert fork, dessert spoon, and place card (not pictured)

To set a formal dinner table, clean table with washcloth and dry thoroughly. Dress table with tablecloth, placemats, or just a table runner (not pictured). Use your thumb knuckle as a guide to place the edge of you plate 1 in from the edge of the table. To the left of the plate, from the inside out, place your dinner fork, your salad fork, and then your napkin. To the left of your plate, from the inside out, place your knife (blade in), your teaspoon, then your soup spoon. Above the spoons, place your wine glasses (white first, then red), then your water glass to the upper left. Lay your dessert fork directly above your dinner plate facing right, then your spoon above facing left. Finish with placing your bread plate directly above your fork with your butter knife laying across the plate. The name/place card should be placed directly above your dessert cutlery.


(TIP: A fun way to teach children how to set a table is with their hands. Fork has 4 letter just like Left. Knife has 5 letters just like Right. Also have them make a small “b” and “d” with their thumb, index, and middle fingers. The bread plate goes to the “b” and the drinks go to the “d“.)


As a dinner guest in someone’s home, there are a few important etiquette tips to remember:

1.) Do not start eating until everyone has been seated and the host/hostess begins their meal.
2.) Your napkin should be placed in your lap during the meal. It should not touch the table until the meal is finished. When the meal is finished, the napkin should be folded and placed to the left. Not crumpled and thrown just anywhere.
3.) Regarding cutlery, always start with the outside and work your way in.
4.) Chew with your mouth closed.
5.) Unless someone specifically asks for a dish, always pass food from left to right.


The more we practice our etiquette skills and table manners, the easier they become. Soon, they’ll become second nature and our efforts can go from remembering our manners, to concentrating on those around us and holding conversations.

“Good manners reflect something from the inside. An innate sense of consideration for others and respect for self” (Unknown)

Do Manners Matter? Part 2: Social Etiquette

Social etiquette, including social media, is fun to talk about. It is so vitally important to our professionalism and our influence, but it’s the one thing that is being ignored and cast aside more and more as time passes. Today we’ll look at the top 5 etiquette rules for both in person, and online, interactions.

Personal Social Interaction

1.) When you are introduced to someone, shake their hand, smile, and let them know you’re pleased to meet them. You need that professional and kind first impression to keep their interest and cultivate a relationship.


2.) Try not to be more than 15 minutes late to a party, no more than 10 minutes late to a dinner, and no more than 5 minutes late to a ceremony/service. (The exception to this rule is an open house party or BBQ.) This shows respect for your host and hostess, ensures that the foods they’ve worked hard to prepare isn’t ruined by your tardiness, and prevents others from being distracted by you walking in late.

3.) Put real clothes on. As wonderful as it would be to parade around everywhere in your pajamas, please don’t be that person. If you’re going to the salon, a doctor’s visit, or just going to grab something from Target, get up and get dressed. In her book “Whiskey in a Teacup” Reese Witherspoon passes on wisdom that her grandmother gave her as a girl. Always put real clothes on before 10am. This means no loitering about in pajamas, sweat pants, or yoga pants all day.

4.) Be kind to everyone. Don’t catch yourself getting snippy with the waiter, it’s not his fault that your steak is overcooked. Don’t yell at the customer service attendant, she didn’t write the policies. Don’t snub the janitor, he cleans your office. Don’t shoot dirty looks at the teenager sitting across from you, she needs a friendly face. Don’t be that person. As Mister Fred Rogers once said “There are three ways to ultimate success: The first way is to be kind. The second way is to be kind. The third way is to be kind.”

5.) Avoid swearing. Swear words are majorly overused today. It does not make you sound cool or grown up. It makes you sound like you lack the intelligence needed to use a proper vocabulary to describe your feelings. It loses you respect.

Online Social Interaction

We are constantly surround by technology. We can be instantly connected at all times. However, like any interaction, there are still rules of etiquette to follow.

1.) Always spell out complete words, capitalize when appropriate, and use correct punctuation. no1 wants 2 try n read ur lazy txt msg u r betr than dis pleez dont ruin ur credibility by txtng lik did TY


2.) Do not post anything while you are mad, and do not post anything you wouldn’t say to a room full of people. Social media has created too many brave keyboard warriors who rant about anything and everything, but those same people would never say these things out loud. Remember, once it’s out there, it’s out there forever. It just takes a seconds of being online for someone to screenshot what you say.

3.) Do your best about responding to emails and text messages, especially from family and close friends. This is something I have to really be mindful about because I’m bad about mentally responding and forgetting to actually respond. But if someone takes time to reach our to us, we should be diligent about responding. Even if it’s a quick message to let them know you’re busy but that you aren’t ignoring them and you will get back with them as soon as you’re able.

4.) If you wouldn’t want your baby sister, your father, your sweet grandmother, or your pastor to see it, don’t post it. This includes photos, mems, posts, and comments. If you’re hoping a certain group of people won’t see it, don’t put it out there.

5.) Use emojis sparingly in personal conversations, and never in professional conversations. Your boss doesn’t need or want 10 yellow faces, a crying cat, a flower, a cup of coffee, or a pile of waste strung in with your email. It doesn’t matter how close you are, keep it professional. With your personal family and friends, use your best judgement, just try to keep it tasteful. With your spouse however, pile on those heart eyes and kissy faces!

“Life is short, but there is always time for courtesy” (Ralph Waldo Emerson)

Do Manners Matter? Part 1: Basic Manners

Do manner matter anymore? Does etiquette still have a place in our culture? We don’t hear “please, thank you, and excuse me” as often as we used to. “Yes/No ma’am” is almost non-existent. People no longer give up their chair for the elderly or expecting mothers. Why is it that we are ok with this move away from a polite society? With the age of smartphones and instant entertainment, we no longer know how to behave at a restaurant, concert, or even church. Young adults entering the workforce no longer know how to interview, attend a business meeting, or dress for work.

The problem is, we’ve stopped teaching manners and etiquette thinking that it’s too old fashioned. We’ve sacrificed politeness and social graces for the false sense of progress. Friends, this is not progress, this is regression. A common misconception is that etiquette is all about what fork you use, what glass you drink from first, and which monogram is on the flatware. Those things are still good to know and fun to practice, but etiquette is so much more than knowing when to excuse yourself or how to hold your teacup.

“Manners are a sensitive awareness of the feelings of others. If you have that awareness, you have good manners, no matter what fork you use.” (Emily Post)

What are manners and etiquette? Manners are defined as your outward bearing or behavior towards others. Good manners are described as a polite or well-bred social behavior. Etiquette is defined as the customary code of polite behavior in society or among members of a particular profession or group.

Why are manners, and etiquette, so important?

  1. When we practice good manners, we open the door for relationships and influence that we wouldn’t have otherwise had.
  2. When we practice social etiquette, we gain the respect of others.
  3. When we practice good manners and social etiquette, we increase our own confidence and self-esteem.

Basic everyday manners are a great place to start, especially with young children. I split these basic manners up into two categories. Things like “please, thank you, you’re welcome, and excuse me” are verbal manners. Things like letting the elderly have the last chair, chewing with your mouth closed, and not burying you nose in your device when someone is talking to you, these are what I classify as behavioral manners. Below is a list of basic manners I believe every one of us should exhibit in our lives.


1) Saying thank you when we receive a good or service. This includes when a waitress brings your food out at the restaurant. I’ve had someone tell me before “that’s their job, you don’t have to ask or thank them.” Yes, you do. It may be their job, but they are still providing a service for you and that should be appreciated.

2) Responding to thank you with “You’re welcome”. We, as a people group, have gotten ourselves into the horrid habit of responding with “no problem”. Nobody needs to hear about your problems, or lack of, with what you did for them. Graciously accept their thanks with a simple “you’re welcome”. Trust me, it’s way less awkward for all parties. “My pleasure” could also be an appropriate response.

3) Say “excuse me” when you need to pass by someone or in front of someone. Also, if you need to interrupt for an important reason, start with “excuse me, I’m sorry to interrupt…”

4) When someone is speaking to you, give 100% of your attention. This means putting your phone down, turning away from the television, or pausing the game to focus on the speaker. We are such a distracted people and it’s sad to think about how much we miss because we’re not paying attention.

5) Learn to graciously accept a compliment. When someone offers you a compliment, accept with a gracious smile and a “thank you”. Nothing is more awkward than complimenting someone and them immediately launching into self degradation, explanation of why they don’t deserve a compliment, or what they could have done differently.

When we use good manners and social etiquette we are placing a higher value on the people we are surrounded by. We are telling them that they are worth our kindness and our behavior will reflect their value.

“Manners are like the shadows of virtues. They are the momentary display of those qualities which our fellow creatures love and respect” (Sydney Smith)