Okay, if last week’s Teaching Tuesday topic seemed like a no-brainer, today’s tip may seem even simpler. Talk to your child. Begin at birth, or before. I’ve heard “experts” say that you shouldn’t talk “babytalk” to your infant, but I don’t see how you can help it. It just seemed so natural to me.
In our second installment of Mannerly Monday, let’s discuss what manners we could be teaching our children to use when they are in public places. Keeping in mind that we are approaching this topic from the perspective of being considerate of others, here are a few ideas we have tried to work on with our girls.
1) At a play, concert or other performance, sit quietly and still in your seat until the intermission so that others are not disturbed. If you arrive late to an event, enter as quietly as possibly and sit in the back rows. [Just a side note: parents should take into consideration the nature and length of the performance and the age and temperament of their child to ensure that it is a good fit. A typical three-year-old, for example, will probably have difficulty remaining still through a performance of Handel’s Messiah.]
Please do not think that we have mastered these things with our children! However, they are goals we are working toward to ensure that they know how to act in various situations and are a pleasure for us and others to be around.
On Monday I posted here about how we’re working on table manners with our girls. I had a wonderful e-mail response from a friend of mine who is rearing three great boys. I’m passing along just a few of their table rules – things that may not even have crossed my mind. These may highlight some of the differences between boys and girls!!
1. We do not want to hear eating or drinking at the table. NO moaning or humming or loud chewing.
Another idea she shared which I loved was that her husband has each of the boys go to her and thank her for making the meal (whether they liked it or not). This is to train them to one day thank their wife for the food she prepares for them. What a nice way to truly be rearing your children with the future in mind!
I’ll be up front with you here….I promise not to have a theme for every day of the week. I’m a relatively scheduled, organized person, but that makes even me a little crazy. However, with my background in education, Teaching Tuesday was just too good to pass up. So, every Tuesday I’ll do a post on a teaching idea or tip that I’ve used or heard about.
Since I’m just beginning my blog, I have to start with the most basic concept of all. Read to your child. Start as early as possible and don’t stop. This one came naturally for me because I love to read. I know my Mom read stacks and stacks of books to us as children. I read to both of my girls while they were in the womb.
Once they were born, we established a habit of reading two books (or stories) before naptime each day and another book, along with a story from a Bible storybook, at bedtime. Many days we read more than that, but at least I knew we had those times scheduled for reading even if the rest of our day was too hectic to fit it in.
We’ve moved past naptime now (except for me some days!), but we continue our bedtime reading every night. The neat thing is that I’m getting to re-read some of my childhood favorites. What a joy to see my girls as enthralled with them as I was! I read a great article yesterday from Amy at Literacy Launchpad regarding treating books as family heirlooms. Go here to read her post.
As I kick off our first Mannerly Monday, I thought I would begin with what my husband and I are currently working on with our girls – mealtime manners. Obviously, the list of table manners could be quite long, so I chose three rules to concentrate on for now.
– Stay in your seat at the table. Not much makes me crazier during mealtime than someone (or two!) hopping up from the table every couple of minutes.
– Sit properly in your chair. No legs folded underneath you, knees up to your chin, etc.
– Hold your fork/spoon correctly. No shoveling action here!
As the weeks go by, we will add a few additional items to work on, such as keeping elbows off the table and showing them how to serve themselves. (Yes, I still fix everyone’s plate and dish out second helpings.) Taken in the context of our initial quote, this will hopefully start the process toward my daughters feeling confident in different situations, and, more importantly, will show consideration for those around them.
Do you have any fun ideas for helping children remember their table manners? I know not all families have sit-down meals every night, but in the comments section I’d like to hear what you may have done in positively reinforcing table manners in your home.
(Photo courtesy PDPhoto.org)