Q. My two teenagers will be visiting their aunt over a long weekend, so I've been reminding them of how to behave when staying in someone else's home. They have a tendency to be a little sloppy once in a while with their rooms and around home. Just typical teenage girls. It would be great if you could supply a few etiquette tips to confirm what I am telling them.
A. Yes, no doubt your daughters are excited. Here are a few basic tips to help them with their p's and q's for a fun visit with their aunt and an invitation to return for a second visit. Each girl should:
Hang up clothes from her suitcase in a space provided. If there are not enough hangers, be prepared to put more than one item on a hanger.
Return clothes to hangers after the clothes are worn.
Keep other personal items in the suitcase if drawer space is not available.
Keep bathroom and makeup items -- hairspray, hair gel, toothpaste ,tooth brush, curling iron, face cleanser and lotions, etc. -- in a neatly confined area in the bathroom. If sharing the bathroom with other family members, remove the items after each use and store them back in suitcases.
Put underclothes you have worn, in a plastic bag that has been included in each suitcase. Definitely do not allow them to be scattered around the room.
Remake the bed each day as soon as you get up.
Be dressed appropriately for each meal, especially no skimpy sleepwear for breakfast. Each girl should take and wear a bathrobe as necessary, especially when going from her room to the bathroom or any other location in the home.
Clean up after using the bathroom. Remove hair from the sink, etc.
If each girl wears makeup, I suggest each take her own facial cleaning wipes or tissues, or her own washcloth to use to remove makeup, so as not to permanently stain their Aunt's washcloths with black eyeliner or lipstick.
Each girl should ask hr aunt where she would like her to put used bath towels, hand towels and washcloths. They definitely should not be left on the floor either in the bathroom or in the girl's room or on the bed or furniture in her room.
Be on time for all meals.
Eat what is provided. Do not be finicky. Make selections from choices provided. Do not make special requests.
Offer to help with food preparation, table setting, table cleanup and washing dishes or preparing them for the dishwasher.
Offer to remove your shoes upon arrival and follow directions thereafter.
Shoes should not be left in the living area. They should be neatly placed in the bedroom. I suggest each girl pack a bath towel to place on the floor out of the walkway path in the bedroom on which to place her shoes.
Pack some snacks for in-between meals to be eaten in their bedroom. - Remember that all trash belongs in a waste basket. Offer to empty the trash right before departure.
Offer to strip the bedding before departure and neatly put in the laundry basket in the laundry room. Offer the same for used bath towels, etc.
Offer to vacuum the bedroom before departure.
Keep feet off all the furniture.
Execute proper dining etiquette at all meals.
Remember to say thank you and please. Compliment the hostess during and after each meal.
Do not set food or drinks on any furniture.
Be happy and fun, not grumpy. The girls should get along with each other with no arguing.
Take a joint small hostess gift for their aunt -- flowers or candy.
Techy devices such as iPhones and iPads should be very limited to absolute necessities. That means no texting or calling friends during the visit. They should notify their friends, they will be busy visiting their aunt and will talk to them when they return.
When the aunt indicates it is bedtime, it is bedtime. If she does not, each girl should be considerate and go to bed at a very reasonable time.
Verbal thank-yous are a definite upon departure, with a follow-up handwritten detailed thank-you note by each girl as soon as she arrives home.
Accolades to all the young girls and boys of the 8th-grade class of High Mount School for their attentiveness, politeness, and enthusiasm during the class I recently taught for them on dining manners. I was very impressed!
Thank you to a very special long-time reader, Dorothy Vernier, for the opportunity to meet her at a recent charity event, and for her compliments regarding my column.
Wednesday, I will be a guest on KTVI, Channel 2 about 9 a.m. with my hat creations to promote the upcoming annual Forest Park Forever Hat Luncheon.
Dianne Isbell is a local contributing writer. Send your etiquette questions to Lifestyle Editor Pat Kuhl, Belleville News-Democrat, P.O. Box 427, 120 S. Illinois St., Belleville, IL 62222-0427.