by Amy Suski
If you’ve ever wished a fairy godmother would waive her magic wand over your children and sprinkle good manners over them like fairy dust, wish no longer. Mrs. B is a real mother whose sweet doses of kindness and courtesy are eagerly welcomed by the young guests to her new special event tea room in Falls Church, VA.
Much more than just a place to sip tea and nibble goodies, the tea room at Tea With Mrs. B is designed to make every gathering memorable. You won’t find any plastic spoons or cups here! By bringing out “the good stuff”, including floral tablecloths, crystal glasses, and china cups, Mrs. B shows all of her guests that they are special.
The tea parties with Mrs. B introduce children to manners and new foods in small bites. Children may be reluctant to try new food, explains Mrs. B, “But I tell them that the phyllo dough was rolled out by fairies and we wouldn’t want to hurt their feelings.” By asking them to try just a little bite Mrs. B encourages children to think of the feelings of the person (or fairy) that made the food and to try something new. Small bites in an appealing presentation make trying new things a whole lot more fun.
During Royal Balls, children are invited to a special evening of dress-up while parents enjoy a night out. While enjoying the special occasion table setting, goodies, and a movie, even the youngest children learn to hold silverware, put a napkin in their lap, make eye contact, and say please and thank you.
As Mrs. B explains, when the setting is special, children are more likely to recall the lesson and be eager to help others: “I am so proud when I see one of my guests helping another little guest hold her fork or pour a drink. You definitely want the older children to set an example, be a leader, and make everyone at the table feel welcome.”
Any experience at Tea With Mrs. B is less about being “proper” and more about slowing down, connecting with each other, and making time together more memorable. “Manners make everyone feel comfortable,” says Mrs. B. And so she is on a mission to “revive the lost art of eye contact”, foster confidence in social interactions, and encourage friendlier behavior at the table. “Sometimes it’s the little things that make life more gracious and meaningful.”
Worried about all that china and crystal? Don’t be. During the six years that Mrs. B has been holding tea parties, only once has a child broken something. Many more teacups and stemware are broken by the adults -- mostly herself and her assistants during hurried clean-ups. Which just goes to show that if you treat a meal like a truly special event, children will take care with the special objects they are entrusted with.
In addition to her tea parties, Mrs. B hosts birthday parties, camps, showers, and has been called upon to hold adult etiquette classes and workshops for parents and teenagers.
For teenagers, Mrs. B addresses topics such as communication skills, body language, manners, and poise. For teenage girls, Mrs. B also brings in a wedding make-up artist and stylist to help girls discover “just right” make-up and the most flattering clothing. For teenage boys, she advises on proper etiquette for meeting a date’s parents and offers suggestions for how to break any awkward silences, handle a restaurant bill, and more.
Tea With Mrs. B is located at 136 W. Jefferson Street in Falls Church, VA. Mrs. B, a.k.a., Rebecca Czarniecki, lives in Northern Virginia with her husband and son and is eagerly awaiting the adoption of their second child. She is also currently writing a book about manners – lessons sweetened with a spoonful of sugar.
Images courtesy of Tea With Mrs. B
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