Career consultants say knowing the ins and outs of etiquette is one of the best tools for success. More than keeping your elbows off the table, etiquette classes teach kids how to behave in professional situations and make good first impressions — a trait that shows how confident and trustworthy you are according to Amy Cuddy, a Harvard Business School social psychologist. Even well-behaved boys and girls can benefit. Beyond distinguishing a salad fork from a shrimp fork, your kiddo will learn how to address conflict with composure, express opinions with confidence and, most important, treat others and herself with respect. (And, yes, even how to take dignified selfies.)
Elise McVeigh, certified etiquette instructor and founder of Mrs. McVeigh’s Manners, teaches kids the rules of “Meeting, Eating and Greeting” in a six-week workshop at her Park Cities home. For one hour per week, children ages 3–11 learn the basics of congeniality by making eye contact, dressing a table, even standing up to school bullies with dignity. Tuition also includes reminders — a laminated instructional placemat, chore and routine charts, a video and more. Register online for the workshop or private lessons, or make a group reservation for 12 or more students.
Cost: $180 per person for the workshop; from $95 per hour for private classes
When: Upcoming workshops run Wednesdays Feb. 1–March 8, 4–5pm; Thursdays Feb. 2–March 9, 4–5pm.
Where: Dallas, 214/212-2033
Month-long etiquette classes at Harris Hollabaugh Recreation Center in Garland have kids 6 and older practice posture, manners and table setting, plus perform impromptu comedic scenes, memorization skits and more. Instructor Ashley Berens says learning the basics of acting reinforces behaving appropriately, speaking clearly, projecting and making eye contact. In addition, girls learn makeup application and walking in heels, while boys learn to tie a tie. Sign up online.
Cost: $37 per month; $16 one-time fee
When: The next session runs Mondays March 6–27, 7:15–8:15pm.
Where: Hollabaugh Recreation Center, 3925 W. Walnut St., Garland, 972/205-2721
In May, register your daughter for the summer charm, etiquette and modeling course at Arabesque Studio of the Dance. Girls ages 6 and older practice entering a room, walking with purpose, making proper introductions, personal care and dining etiquette. At the end, students showcase the skills they’ve mastered as they walk the runway in their favorite outfits. Opt for a four-week session of two-hour classes, a six-week session of 1.5-hour classes or an eight-week session of hour-long classes, depending on schedule and availability. Registration begins May 1 for the June session.
When: June; dates to be announced
Where: 7989 Beltline Road, Suite 176, Dallas, 972/233-2532
Keisha Howard Gaddis founded PEARL Girls, an organization that helps young women develop into “poised, elegant and responsible leaders” (PEARL), to teach girls ages 7 and older manners for dining, introducing themselves and communicating, in person and online during three-hour etiquette and self-esteem workshops. Girls also learn tools for positive thinking, goal setting, interviewing, promoting personal hygiene and creating healthy friendships. Sign up for the PEARL Girls newsletter to learn about upcoming sessions, or reserve a private group session for eight or more at your church.
Cost: From $45 per person; registration fee from $25. Group reservations from $300 per workshop.
When: Upcoming workshops to be scheduled; private sessions by reservation
Where: Dallas area, 972/795-5577
Upon request, Jocelyn Stevens, certified etiquette instructor and founder of Ruby Etiquette, brings her mobile manners course to a library near you to help “Little Gems” ages 5–12 build confidence and self-respect during weekly two-hour sessions. Girls enrolled in the two-week Princess package role-play greeting and introducing, dealing with bullies, offering sincere apologies and communicating in person and over social media. The three-week Marquise package adds the art of accepting “no”, gift giving, being a great party guest and more. The all-encompassing four-week Ruby class adds hands-on dining etiquette. Book online.
Cost: Princess package, $100 for at least six girls; Marquise package, $200 for at least five girls; Ruby package, $300 for at least four girls.
When: By reservation
Where: Dallas-Fort Worth area, 972/762-6802
In one- to two-hour in-home group or private sessions, Sandra Morgan, founder of Sandra Parks School of Etiquette, teaches boys and girls ages 4 and older proper posture and hygiene, introductions and table setting and manners, among other necessary social know-hows. Call a week in advance to schedule a private lesson or a group of 10 or more at your home, church or school gymnasium.
Cost: $95 per person for group lessons; $250 per person for private lessons
When: By reservation
Where: Dallas-Fort Worth area, 972/569-7938
Equip your fifth grader with the social skills and confidence to conquer middle school madness (and their first dance) at Jon D. Williams Cotillion in McKinney. The five-week course covers social how-tos like introducing oneself, confidently communicating face to face and dining etiquette and table manners. Each week, kids don their dancing shoes for fox trot, waltz and swing lessons too. For sixth and seventh graders, the cotillion offers Social Skills Essentials, an advanced five-week course refining verbal, nonverbal and digital communication and culminating in a three-course dining etiquette experience. They also learn basic dances as well as jitterbug, salsa and tango. Register online for both cotillions.
Cost: $220 for fifth graders; $250 for sixth and seventh graders
When: Tuesdays Feb. 7–28 and March 21; fifth grade 5:15–6:45pm; sixth and seventh grades 7–8:30pm
Where: Eldorado Country Club, 2604 Country Club Drive, McKinney, 720/266-6197
This summer, the National League of Junior Cotillions hosts monthly etiquette, ethics and dance classes for kids in first–fourth grades across Collin County. First and second graders sign up for Pre-Cotillion I where they learn manners, birthday party etiquette and the art of paying and receiving compliments. In Pre-Cotillion II, third and fourth graders learn to write thank-you notes, practice sportsmanship and greet and shake hands. In September, older kids advance to monthly Junior Cotillion for grades six through eight. All kids within the school district boundaries are welcome to join until spots fill up (usually by May), so register early online. Attend an evening informational reception to learn more before signing up; go online for dates and locations.
Cost: $175 per child for Pre-Cotillion; from $370 per child for Junior Cotillion
When: Class times vary by chapter
Where: Allen, McKinney and Prosper chapters, 972/668-4570
Plano and Frisco chapters, 469/633-9698;
Wanda Sykes-Moore, owner of The Royal Court School of Etiquette, hosts four-hour etiquette courses at her home. Squire Court gives kids ages 4–7 lessons in meeting and greeting, completing household chores, setting the table and more. Dukes and duchesses ages 8–12 learn how to make great first impressions with basic grooming habits and good posture. No matter what age, Royal Court attendants learn to treat others with respect in addition to other essential social graces. Call to reserve a one-time class for your child and 5–8 of her friends or a private session for 1–4 kids.
Cost: Squire Court, $44 per person (group) or $50 per person (private); Duchess and Duke Court, $135 per person (group) or $150 per person (private)
When: By reservation
Where: The Colony, 469/384-1095
In Amber Griffin’s four-day etiquette and Model Prep class, girls ages 11–17 learn everything from walking in heels to presenting your best self on social media. The Campbell Agency model and certified etiquette instructor helps young ladies adopt good posture, set a table and initiate conversation. In addition to her etiquette workshop, girls will learn from fashion industry artists how to apply make up, match colors and dress for their age — all skills that will help prepare them for the runway show finale. Ladies will also learn how to implement a fitness routine and choose healthy foods from celebrity trainer Josh Biard. Sign up online.
Cost: $600 per person
When: June 14–17, 8am–1pm
Where: Four Seasons Hotel 4150 N. MacArthur Blvd., Irving, 214-998-8119