Today’s topic was inspired by the oh-so-fabulous Cheryl over at MochaMOB.com. In addition to blogging, Cheryl has her own weekly Internet radio show (Monday’s at 11:00 a.m. CST on DFWiRadio.com), and one of my favorite segments on the show is when she discusses manners for kids.
You see, I’ve always dreamed of having a little etiquette school for kids, or at the very least rounding up my friends and their kids once a month for etiquette dates. I’m not sure where that desire comes from since I still can’t remember if my bread plate is on the left or right. But, even as a kid, I remember walking through the house a time or two with a book on my head trying to get my posture right–though, not nearly enough because my posture is horrible. I also looked forward to reading the Emily Post section in the paper as a teen and one of my favorite books after college was How to Be by Hariette Cole.
Once I started having kids, I anxiously awaited the day when they’d be old enough for some “home training” as old folks used to say. So, with Cheryl’s weekly reminders, I’ve decided now’s a good time to start working on manners and etiquette with the boys. I think it’s important so they’ll know how to present themeselves well, treat others with respect and show common courtesy. Plus, to be honest, given that African American males are often stigmatized, I want to make sure that, even at an early age, they’re capable of proving any false stereotypes about them wrong.
My plan is to start off slow by focusing on just one area a month. At first, I had a hard time figuring out what to start off with so off to EmilyPost.com, I headed.
The site has a pretty good selection of articles, Q&A and tips, so making my list ended up being pretty easy. I even spotted a few books in the bookstore that I plan to add to my collection for future reference. Based on the areas I see the boys struggling with now, here’s what I’ve decided to tackle through the end of the year:
July: Please and thank you
August: How to greeting someone
- Look them in the eye and smile
- Speak clearly
- Say the person’s name
- Add a “Glad to see you.” or “How are you?”
September: Basic table manners
- Wash up
- Wait until all are served to eat
- Stay seated or ask to be excused
- Chew with mouth closed
- No elbows, feet or toys on the table
- Clear your dishes
October: Talking on the phone
- Say hello and say who you are
- Speak clearly
November: Don’t interrupt when grown-ups are talking unless it’s an emergency
December: Open and hold the door for others (just in time for Christmas shopping excursions)
In case you’re wondering how I’m going to keep up with this schedule, I’m adding each month’s challenge to our family calendar on Cozi. The cool thing about Cozi is that it emails you a weekly digest of activities for the upcoming week to family members. Plus, you can also have it send text reminders. This way both hubbie and I will know which manners areas we’re focusing on for the week.
While this training is meant for the boys, I realize it’ll also be for us as their parents. A lot of what they eventually pick up will reflect what they see us modeling on a day-to-day basis which means we have to come with it too. Guess that means etiquette school is now in session for all of us. If anyone wants to jump on those etiquette dates, feel free to ring me up.
What do you think…Which etiquette skills do you think are most important? Anyone in the education field with insight as to where you see kids falling short in the manners department? What about any other good websites or books I should look up?