please and thank you and all that

Statistically speaking, our kids will meet, greet, and eat with more people in the month of December than any other month: grandparents, aunts and uncles, even our co-workers. This has me thinking – ‘tis the season for our very best manners. My kids have mainly mastered the please-and-thank-you basics, so we’re moving into the next level and talking about what good manners are meant to support – being kind to others and making everyone feel comfortable. These discussions started early with books aimed at toddlers.  These books are fun and playful and get little ones thinking about how to be kind and polite. Table manners can be tough for kids and they need constant reminders; they come home from school tired and hungry and they see no reason why they shouldn’t touch their spaghetti, spear a whole meatball with a fork and eat it like a popsicle, and engage in all manner of unpleasant dinner conversation. Table Topics is a family dinner game that, on those days when whining and bickering have taken over the dinner table, can get the kids talking, thinking, and having fun. Questions range from silly to thought provoking and keep the conversation pleasant while I coach them on their knife skills and napkin use. My current manners campaign is having my kids address grown-ups by Mr. or Ms. or Mrs. Parents have a lot of confusion about this but I’m going traditional in our non-traditional world. My kids go to a school where the teachers are called by their first names so I especially want to them to recognize that some adults, especially older ones, might prefer a little formality at the onset. I'm committed to thank you notes; handwritten and snail-mail style. Opening a personal note is still a great joy and to make it fun for the kids, I've ordered them their own thank you cards and stationery. Check out Minted's modern yet adorable cards. And these from Polka Dot Design. (And, in the holiday giving season, personalized stationery makes a fabulous gift for a young lady or gentleman.) One item on my Christmas list is The Kindness Kingdom, a board game where good manners makes you a winner. The game’s website has the following quote “Treat everyone with politeness, even those who are rude to you, not because they’re nice, but because you are.”  That kind of thinking makes you a winner in life – now if I could just get my kids to chew with their mouths closed.
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