Home » Parenting » Dear Parents – an open letter about prize giving etiquette

Dear Parents – an open letter about prize giving etiquette

Dear parents everywhere,

Before I start this letter, I would like you to understand that I completely understand how prize giving is to you and your child. It is important to me as well. But you aren’t the only parent sitting in the hall, your child isn’t the only one getting an award. 

The same prize giving etiquette applies for concerts. 

With a little bit of respect we can all get through the time we spend together in the hall easily, peacefully and memorably. 

Fun fact: Emma’s principal said, at her concert, that as parents we will attend on average 24 kids concerts. That is a lot of time concerts, right? Each one as important as the next.

Prize Giving Etiquette | HarassedMom

Next time you attend your child’s concert or prize giving, remember these handy, helpful tips.

  • Arrive on time! If for some reason you can’t, then please don’t try to squeeze in a seat in the middle row in the middle of the hall. There are generally seats open at the back or on the isle, sitting there is less disruptive to the children performing or receiving their awards.
  • Most schools that we have attended, in fact all of them, take professional pics of the kids who have received awards and/or video the concert. A lot of schools also have a photographer taking pics during the prize giving. So your child’s special day will be documented. Please try avoid standing up taking videos/pics of your child as they receive their award. Unless they are the only child on stage you are more than likely preventing another parent from taking pics or even seeing their child. If you do insist on making a video, please do’t hold your phone up before your child’s grade has even started. The people behind you do not want to watch the function through your phone/tablet. Step to the sides or stay at the back and record/take pics from there, that way everyone else can see.
  • Clap when everyone is on stage. Every single prize giving the teachers ask this, every single prize giving parents ignore it. The reason for this is not because your child isn’t worth celebrating, they are but there is also a ceremony to get through. So what happens, Tom gets called up and everyone claps profusely, then Mary, then Sam and they also get excited claps but then as the night goes on, the clapping gets less enthusiastic and by the end poor Sadie and her first team hockey girls barely get a tap tap. No-one can clap enthusiastically for 3 hours. Wait for the groups of learners to get on stage and then clap like crazy. I have attended enough prize givings to know it does make a difference. 
  • Wait until the end. Very few people willing want to spend 3-4 hours in a stuff hall watching other peoples kids getting awards. It does get a little boring, especially if your child is one of the first ones to get an awards. But do not leave before the end. If you have to for some reason, please sit on the isle or at the back and leave as discreetly as possible. 
  • Don’t stress about your toddler who doesn’t want to sit still. These events are so often in the evening which is never a ideal time if you have other kids, especially toddlers. We had Baby R for Kiara’s prize giving last year. I spent the entire time at the back of the hall while he crawled up and down. It was not disruptive, he was happy and I got to watch in peace. Toddlers and babies aren’t likely to be happy to sit still, try not to force them. Let them walk around if they need too. We are lucky that a lot of our events are held in churches which means there is a family room and generally space at the back to let toddlers move around. 

I know that these events are milestones and I know your kid has worked super hard to get there. Celebrate and be proud and record the event but just remember that there are other parents there too who are just as proud and want to record everything as much as you do. 

If you are attending a prize giving over the next few weeks – just enjoy the moment.



  1. Pandora
    12 November, 2018 / 1:29 pm

    Oh, the people who hold up their great big iPads to record the entire event blocking everyone else’s view! You can afford an iPad, you can afford the peofessional DVD the school is recoding!

  2. 13 November, 2018 / 5:27 am

    This made me LOL because it is just so true. And it reminds me of gym where people come 15 mins late but decide the best spot is right in front of the class

  3. 30 November, 2018 / 10:47 pm

    All true! Your page has been helpful especially in my parenting towards my kiddos. Thanks a lot for providing relevant info. This is a great help for me and my family.

  4. 3 December, 2018 / 4:44 pm

    These are all sensible tips. I guess we don’t have as many ceremonies like this in the US right now, though? – or maybe my primary-age kids just aren’t old enough yet? Thanks for the spot-on grownup etiquette reminders, though!

    • Laura-Kim
      7 December, 2018 / 10:44 am

      Thats so interesting – we have them from our kindergarten kids

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