Teatime: Grace and Courtesy for the Very Young

Our annual Mother’s Day Tea hosted by the Toddler Program is one of the highlights of the TMS Calendar. Mothers and their young children gather in a beautiful space to spend time in one another’s company. The enjoyment for adults and children is always so remarkable, and is, delightfully, replicable in the home.

Teatime with a toddler — it’s a simple way to share planning and process, and to develop grace and courtesy.

IMG_1152Designate a coffee table or other small surface for teatime and set aside two plates and cups, reserved for these special moments. Together with your child, select a day for your special tea, and indicate it on a calendar that they can see. As you plan, use questions to inspire the child: Should we slice cucumbers or peppers for our crunchy vegetable? Should we have lemon or chocolate cookies?

Your teatime doesn’t require actual tea. Lemonade or juice can stand in. But should you want the pleasure of the teapot, and the anticipation of steeping, we recommend rooibos or red bush tea. This naturally caffeine-free alternative produces a lovely red liquid that tastes delicious with milk and honey.

As you set the tea table, allow your child to arrange the cookies and vegetables on serving plates. Last but not least, teatime provides a perfect excuse for flower arranging!

Play light background music, and enjoy the gentle formality that sets this time apart from the everyday. This is a time to cultivate the easy back and forth of the conversation. Teatime with toddlers may be quick,  lasting ten or fifteen minutes when you begin, but in a couple of months it will be time to plan another tea together, and to marvel at the changes in your child. Perhaps you will both linger in conversation a bit longer. Perhaps your child will set the more of the table independently, or pour the “tea” (very small teapots are a wonderful addition to a child-friendly kitchen), or spend extra time arranging the flowers…

And over the years, this little bit of ceremony will become the perfect vessel for many precious memories.

 

Featured image: Danielle Hines

tmsTeatime: Grace and Courtesy for the Very Young