TODAY'S COTILLION....a modern twist on a Southern tradition

Tips on Tipping for Teens and Tweens
by Joanna Kunz

Want to Make a Great First Impression at School?  Do These 5 Things

by Joanna Kunz

As tweens and teens start testing their wings and experiencing dining adventures that aren’t always organized and chaperoned by adults, it is important to give them a little advance preparation.  One of the most common situations that this age group will encounter is eating out at a restaurant with a friend or group of friends and having to settle the bill.  In order for your teenager to feel confident in this situation, it is a good idea to give them a quick lesson on tipping.  Tipping is not necessarily something that children will automatically know to do when dining out.  No matter how many times you may have dined out as a family, it is highly unlikely that they have tuned in to your calculating a tip when the bill arrives.  However, if they know that leaving a tip is part of settling the bill, there will be no awkwardness when the bill arrives at the end of the meal.  But even with the best of preparation, there’s the added confusion of HOW MUCH to tip and even WHEN to tip.  Following is a simple crash course that will address those very questions.

Not sure HOW MUCH to tip when dining out?  The acceptable tip range can be anywhere between 10% and 25% depending upon the location and type of restaurant.   At the very least, teach children to leave a 10% tip.  This is very easy to calculate because it just involves moving the decimal over to the left one place.  If a bill is $15.00, then a 10% tip is $1.50.  Don’t think 10% is enough?  Round it up and leave $2.00.  Or, even double it and leave $3.00.  If you are not someone who can do quick math and calculate percentages in your head, you might find a tip chart very useful.  Print a pocket-sized version out to tuck in your wallet and refer to it whenever you need it.  Try this one for its user-friendly format: 

As for WHEN to tip, it helps to consider the type of restaurant where you are dining.  If you are in a sit-down restaurant—meaning that a hostess takes you to a table and you order from a menu—you should most definitely leave a tip.  And tip on the higher end of the percentage scale.  If you are in an eat-in restaurant—you place your order at a counter, seat yourself, and a server brings your food to the table—leave a smaller tip at the lower end of the percentage scale.  What about a buffet?  If you are at a buffet—you get up and get your own food from a buffet and a server brings you drinks and refills—leave a very small tip.  My family tends to leave a minimum of $1 per person at the table in this situation.

If your service is superior, don’t hesitate to leave a generous tip.  Your generosity will indicate to the waiter that their service was exceptional  But what if your service is not very good?  It is never a good idea not to leave a tip at all.  Give that server the benefit of the doubt.  Maybe they are having a bad day.  All of us do.  So yes, leave a tip.  You don’t have to be overly generous, but don’t be stingy either.  Certainly leave at least a 10% tip.  Leaving nothing would make it look like you have no manners at all.  And it might very well make someone’s bad day even worse.

There are always going to be those gray areas when dining out.  In these cases, it is best to err on the side of good etiquette and leave a small tip.  How about those hotel “breakfast included in your stay” situations?  While no one is actually serving you, there are usually staff members replenishing the buffet and clearing the tables.  It’s not a requirement but it is certainly a nice gesture to leave a small tip on the table.  Or better yet, hand it to the staff member in person.  The bottom line when it comes to tipping when dining out:  it is NEVER wrong to tip.  And by giving a tip when it might not be necessary, you will definitely make someone smile—and you might even make their day!aragraph here.

So you want to make sure your teachers know who you are and remember your name?  Not in a bad way, though, right?  Open Houses and Meet the Teacher Nights are the perfect place to start laying the ground-work for a fantastic year in school.  If you don’t have those opportunities before the school year begins, then make it a point to start the very first day of school!  Doing these 5 things will guarantee that your year gets off to a great start:

  • Introduce Yourself to Your Teacher   It doesn’t have to be anything formal or rehearsed.  Just walk up to your teacher (you might have to wait your turn if there is a line) and say, “Hello Mr./Mrs.____________.  My name is _____________.”  You can extend your hand for a hand-shake—or not-if this seems awkward to you.  But by all means, make eye contact!  Nothing is less memorable than a student who stares at the floor when they speak.  If you’re the chatty kind, you can even offer something extra like, “I’m really looking forward to science this year.  It’s always been my best subject” or “I’ve never been great at math, but I’m going to work hard this year”.

  • Greet Your Teacher When You Get to Class    It may seem a bit silly, but believe me, teachers always remember the students who speak to them regularly.  In many schools, teachers stand at the door to greet students when they arrive.  This is the perfect time to say, “Good Morning, Mr./Mrs.___________” or “Hello, Mr./Mrs.__________”  And, again, be sure to make eye contact!  If your teacher is not standing at the door, but is sitting at his or her desk, you can speak to them as you make your way to your desk.  In this case, be sure they can hear you.  Don’t mumble! 

  • Pay Attention In Class   This probably seems obvious, but it needs to be stated.  Teachers don’t actually have eyes in the back of their heads, but they do know when you’re not paying attention.  When you’re not taking notes or following a reading text, keep your eyes on your teacher.  This will ensure that they know you are, in fact, paying attention.  And, the oldest trick in the book, is for teachers to call on students who look like they’re not paying attention.  Don’t be that kid!

  • Raise Your Hand   When your teacher poses a question or asks for volunteers, raise your hand.  Always raise your hand instead of blurting out an answer.  Your teacher will appreciate that you are participating or offering assistance.

  • Say Good-bye and Thank You   Always say goodbye to your teacher as you leave the classroom.  If it’s the weekend, you can add, “Have a Nice Weekend!”.  Or if you really enjoyed a particular lesson, you can express that too, by saying something like, “Today’s lesson was really interesting!”  A few words will go a long way in making sure your teacher remembers (and likes!) you.

It really is that simple.  Only 5 things to remember.  Do them in your own way and you are sure to be off to a great start this school year!  Now get out there and shine!