Table Manners are Important

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  • December 16, 2013

table mannersI talk about sleep manners for toddlers quite frequently because I think that it’s important to give our growing children the confidence that they can be in charge of bedtime. Not surprisingly, a sleep manners chart makes sleep coaching more efficient and helps toddlers feel like they’re in charge of the changes. It also gives them something to work toward.

Parents sometimes ask me why I call them sleep manners, when it’s really just a sticker chart, and I like calling them sleep manners because manners are something we always need in life and provide good habits and a good foundation for our children’s behavior.

 

From Good Night, Sleep Tight: “I like to call it a sleep manners chart, instead of sleep rules. Rules implies judgment or een potential punishment. Manners connotes expected daily behavior. It’s a reminder that we want to incorporate manners in our life all the time, not just when we are getting stickers.”

 

Sleep isn’t the only time that we parents need to teach manners to our children. Sometimes, it can be difficult to teach younger children important social skills, such as table manners because, well, it’s boring! Not to mention the frustration of telling your child to “remove those elbows from the table, please” for the 10th time. This is why I was really excited to hear about Golly Gee-Pers, makers of Table Manners Cards.

These cards create a fun and effective way to communicate with your children about table manners. The cards address table manner snafus when they occur, and motivate the entire family through friendly competition.

Staci Ericson, fonder of Golly Gee-Pers, found that she needed a creative way to teach her children proper table manners, and make it fun, too, so she made sure that the cards were sturdy and laminated, and included suggestions for maximizing the game’s success for your individual family.

Staci has provide a the following advice on social graces to give everyone a head start:

 

Easy Social Graces to Teach your Child

 

Modern society’s children are showing greater respect for the environment, increased tolerance for individual differences and a remarkable compassion for those in need. How is it then, that children today are seen as lacking manners? Restaurants are banning children, adults complain of being addressed by their first name and elderly persons remain standing on public transportation while young people keep their seats. What gives?

Well, we have become a “casual Friday” nation and what a relief, to some extent. The many relaxed social norms combined with increasingly busy family schedules are causing social graces to become a lost art. What’s a parent to do? Start with the easy ones and go from there. Here are a few easy social graces to teach your child.

 

Addressing Adults

 

This can be tricky for kids, as the rules have changed. The easiest solution is to ask: “Let’s ask Renee’s mommy if she wants to be called Julie or Mrs. James.” If it’s Mrs. James she prefers than mommy can help reinforce this by using the same title. As a side note, adults if you don’t like children calling you by your first name, don’t silently be annoyed simply tell them, “I like to be called ___________.”

 

Table Manners

 

table mannersI always feel sorry for kids when they are seen as rude when they are really lovely children who just haven’t been taught a particular rule. All kids are capable of taking off their baseball caps when they sit down to a meal and chewing with their mouths closed. Trust me it will be noticed and appreciated.

 

Gratitude

 

Saying please and thank you. Children get it pretty quickly that these words are a respectful way to give and receive things. It’s never too early to begin using the magic words.

 

Contributing

 

Even if it’s one bag of chips have your child help bring groceries in from the car. It helps children feel significant when they contribute and know that their help matters.

Just like any skill, social graces take practice. If you need help there are lots of activities, games and even classes to help you get the job done. In the long run your children will thank you and society will too!

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photo credit: timatymusic via photopin cc

Kim West
Kim is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker who has been a practicing child and family therapist for more than 24 years, and the creator of the original gentle, proven method to get a good night’s sleep for you and your child. She is the author of The Sleep Lady's Good Night Sleep Tight, its companion Workbook and 52 Sleep Secrets for Babies. Click here to read more about her.

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