Mind Your Manners

by Abby on July 13, 2011

I overheard this conversation between my 2 boys recently:

Miles: “Hey, Riley. Nice underpants.”

Riley: “Thank you, Miles.”

This exchange cracked me up. Never mind that the underwear was a short-lived (and failed) experiment that ended with a puddle on the floor and extra laundry. I think it’s funny that
a) my 5yo would voice his admiration for his brother’s underwear, and
b) my 2yo knows how to take a compliment.

Sometimes Riley will strike up a conversation with me or his Dad as if we’re peers. “Hi, Dada. You at work? You have a good day?” “You go to da gym, Mama? Have a nice workout?” There’s nothing funnier than a little cherub with a lisp asking about your day. And how great is it that he’s concerned about other people at such a young age?

Nice to meet youI am proud that my boys have good manners. Teaching them to USE their manners on a consistent basis is a feat, but all the brow-beating seems to be working. That’s not to say there’s been no confusion along the way. One day I said to Miles, “Please do not eat your peas with your fingers. It’s not good manners to eat with your hands.”

He replied, “I thought manners were things you SAY.”

Hmmm. Interesting point, huh? This led to a Teachable Moment about saying please and thank-you and putting the toilet seat down. Hey, it’s never too early! Meanwhile, when my toddler is shouting and stomping his foot and demanding a snack, I prompt, “What do you SAY?”

“Thank you!” he shouts back. Well, actually “please,” but close enough.

Of course, there’s also the manners-as-free-pass-to-be-gross behavior. For example, the boys delight in burping loudly and then shouting “Excuse me!” Yeah, I’m sure that just slipped out. And don’t you love it when you say something like, “Go get ready for church, OK?” and your child oh-so-politely replies, “No, thank you.” Wait… how’d they twist that around on me?

But, hey, at least we’re working on manners, right? I WILL take credit for that, thanks.

SONG O’ THE WEEK: Here’s a catchy little ditty called “Please & Thank You.” You’re welcome. 😉

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{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

Lou Mello July 13, 2011 at 8:18 am

Teaching manners to young kids is an absolute must today, of course, sometimes the youngsters figure out how to play us with their own interpretation of manners. Your kids are so cute and the exchange is hilarious, reminds me of when kids sit down and play “house” and serve one another pretend tea, cookies, or whatever. They are always so courteous to one another with their “please” and “thank you’s”.
The little video is perfect for young children, Miss Kate and Mister Steve put together a nice little ditty, indeed.


Abby July 13, 2011 at 4:15 pm

It can be eye-opening to hear what kids say when they’re pretending to be us, can’t it? My kids are constantly pretending to talk on cell phones. Now where do they get that….?


Kim July 14, 2011 at 11:11 am

My daughter’s preschool recently asked the parents what they thought about the 25 manners children should know and I had a hard time coming up with 25 manners! At first I thought of some they say, but then the ones involving actions started coming to mind 🙂 I love watching my older daughter approach her younger sister with compliments and how my youngest one acts so grown up in receiving them!


Adrienne July 14, 2011 at 7:48 pm

My daugher screams, and I mean screams “NO THANK YOU!” at me at least 10 times a day. LOL. Oh and your previous post about parenting 50/50, I could have written that myself!


Angie Mizzell July 15, 2011 at 2:03 pm

I’m a stickler about “please” and “thank you.” And to echo Adrienne, “No thank you,” as well. This may be the only thing that keeps my children from a life of crime. 🙂 Cute exchange between Miles and Riley!


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