“Hey Dad, why have we not been reading the manners book lately?” My daughter asked my husband last night at dinner.
Between having sleepover guests, and a party the night before, we haven’t been reading the manners book we picked up a few weeks ago, and apparently, it was very much missed by our children. It just goes to show you that, even though it’s a book designed to help them conduct themselves properly in all social situations, for them, it’s also about bonding time with us.
Why a children’s manners book, you ask?
I am always one looking to improve and become better at everything I do, and the same holds true when it comes to parenting my children. I most certainly don’t know everything there is to know about how to raise children (oh, is that ever evident during a temper tantrum I unsuccessfully thwarted). But in this day and age, with common decency, manners and tact (in both the young and adult) seemingly tossed by the wayside more and more, Rie’s post about table manners struck a chord in me (what, with all the burping and poop-talk at my table, as of late). I immediately had to go purchase the books she spoke of – 365 Manners Kids Should Know: Games, Activities, and Other Fun Ways to Help Children Learn Etiquette and Polite Moments.
Even if my kids weren’t nearly as bad as some that I’ve seen in my lifetime, I knew that their proper etiquette and manners could use some improving upon. Are we ever going to sit at a formal dinner with the President or anything? No, but weddings? Yes. Plus, I recall fondly being reminded to “keep my elbows off the table” and “sit up straight” when younger, and I fastly discovered I didn’t even know all the manners myself. (Did you know you’re not supposed to lop your biscuit/roll in half and butter it? You’re supposed to butter each small, bite-sized piece. And steak should be kept whole, and cut one piece at a time, not all cut up before the meal as we do with the children. I’m totally guilty of these.) It’s almost weird to think of how much time has changed the way parenting happens now-a-days.
I don’t think I can tell you how big of a relief it is to know that, not only are they learning and retaining, but they are enjoying it as well, and genuinely interested in it as much as we are. And? It’s even more quality time spent together. What more can you ask for?