Let’s Get Practical: Tea Time How-Tos, Part 1
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1. Make a plan.
Let's Get Practical: Tea Time How To
In planning your tea time, you need to think through some questions.
- What do you want to include in your tea time?
- What do you hope to delve into during this set apart time?
- Is there something you desire to share with your children, but find yourself not having the time to enjoy together throughout the week?
- Is there something your soul needs?
You can do a little soul care for yourself during this time. A well nourished mama with the depths of her soul filled up has something of value to pour out, and, therefore, is better able to nourish others in her care.
“Mother must have time to herself. And we must not say ‘I cannot.’ Can any of us say till we have tried, not for one week, but for one whole year, day after day, that we ‘cannot’ get one half-hour out of the twenty-four for ‘Mother Culture?’–one half-hour in which we can read, think, or remember…. But, if we would do our best for our children, grow we must; and on our power of growth surely depends, not only our future happiness, but our future usefulness. Is there, then, not need for more ‘Mother Culture’?”
Charlotte Mason, Volume III, no. 2 The Parents’ Review
Every family has different values, priorities, interests and goals. It has taken me about a year to set a sort of rhythm, or liturgy, that works for our family’s tea times. What is important to me may not be important to you, so you need to assess what you hope this time will include. (Or, maybe you have no idea what to include, or just don’t have the time or desire to put this together yourself. If that is the case, be sure to download Week 2 of our family’s Spring Tea Tea Bundle below…for FREE! Or, check out past Tea Time plans in my Shop)
Also, start simple and then add from there. If your crew has never sat through an hour long tea time before, I would suggest starting with a few key components and then add from there once habits, rhythms, expectations and flows begin to emerge. But in all truthfulness, this takes practice. It won’t go perfectly the first time, or maybe even ever, but it is so worth the effort, the struggle and the fight to set aside time to intentionally fix our eyes together as a family on the things above.
2. Prepare the food together.
We often will make GF scones, hard- boiled eggs, and share some type of fruit and / or cut-up cheese. As I mentioned in my last post, this is a great way to be intentional about practicing and instilling confidence in the kitchen with my kids. But on days when I am unable (or, merely unwilling…just being honest) to be so ambitious, we will merely toast some GF bread with butter and honey or jam to enjoy with our tea.
4. Gather the supplies.
At the very least, you will need a teapot, tea cups, saucers , plates, silverware and napkins. (We actually set out to sew our napkins together before we embarked upon our first tea time! The girls had been begging me for a sewing project, and after about a year of me putting it off- another truth bomb- we finally pulled out their new sewing machine from the previous Christmas…yikes…and got sewing. The seams might be a bit crooked in spots, and most of them don’t fold perfectly, but they are ours!) Obviously, you can use any tea cups or mugs you may have around. It is fun to have some special tableware, however. If you don’t own any, but desire to, check out your local Salvation Army, or even garage sales. There are often little treasures to be found there!
Our tea cup collection was my grandmother’s. I remember as a child just being enamoured by their dainty, intricate, unique shapes and designs. But much to my young girl’s heart’s disappointment, we never actually used them. These treasures, primarily from England, were merely for display. When she passed away a few years back, I was excited to have the opportunity to be given this collection, and a reason to use them!
And then there is our teapot. When I was a child, my parents travelled once a year or so with my dad’s company and they visited all sorts of wonderful places around the world. This tea pot was brought back by them from a trip to Hong Kong over 30 years ago. We also use silver and crystal that have been passed down to me throughout the years. You certainly don’t have to use fancy things, but if you have them sitting around, my thought is they were created for more than just collecting dust. Pull them out and encourage your children to learn the art of gentleness! But also, be prepared to practice the art of not holding things too closely to your own heart. Eek! (Spoiler: things might get broken….) But there truly is something special about using pieces from the past as we gather in the present creating sweet memories to be carried into the future.
5. Introduce new and review previously taught table manners and etiquette, before the children are invited to the table.
Here is a list of some of the resources we have used as a family to learn and discuss table manners and tea time etiquette. (Click on the titles for hyperlink).
- Tea and Manners by Emily Burns
- Children’s Tea and Etiquette: Brewing Good Manners in Young Minds by Dorthea Johnson, J Harney and Ann Noyes
- Protocol Matters by Sandra Boswell (This is an excellent read and covers much more than just table etiquette
Next week I hope to share with you an outline of the structure we currently use for our family’s tea times, and hope to break down how we implement each element. Be sure to check back for that post, and for the next FREE Tea Time Plan from my Spring Tea Time Bundle.
If you have any questions on how we have utilized tea time in our home please don’t hesitate to email me at [email protected]