By: Jennifer Griffin-Wiesner
Since learning several years ago of their existence, I’ve regularly threatened to send my kids to "manners school". The threat typically happens in moments during dinner when they are animatedly arguing the details of a story, mouths chock full of rice and veggies, corn on the cob, or otherwise highly-spewable foods. Our teacher friend, Jane, I remind them, put her kids through her own version of etiquette training a few summers ago. “Maybe I’ll hire Jane to shape you up.”
The irony, of course, is that usually at some point during my admonition I notice that I too have taken a bite just before speaking, so anxious to get a word in edgewise that I have taken leave of my senses. And as long as we’re doing confessions here: I sometimes forget to send thank you cards. Maybe lots of times.
Do as I say, not as I do, right?
Well, sort of. In reality it's more like, Let’s work together on doing as I say. Because, really, even though my manners school idea does basically amount to a threat, I actually think teaching my kids etiquette is a gift--a "trust fund" they can draw on in nearly every aspect of their lives.Here’s a little fact we tend to forget: Kids actually want to know how to function well in the world, get along with people, and be liked. Another thing that’s true is that we can help them achieve that by doing a few simple things RIGHT NOW, and a few more things tomorrow morning, and a few more next week--even if some days they seem to have been raised by wolves. Here’s how:
Give these three things a try for a month and I think you’ll be pleased with the results.
How do you get your kids to mind their manners? Share your tips in the comments section below.