Teaching Manners – With Humor!

We are pretty big on manners around here – saying please and thank you, asking for things nicely instead of saying “give me XYZ,” sharing and taking turns, respecting people’s space, and not interrupting.

So far it’s worked on Toddler, as people comment on how good her manners are. Parental win!

My dad taught her something I never thought to do: ask if she can be excused from the lunch/dinner table when she’s done eating. That was great – thanks, dad!

As a corollary, Toddler figured out something on her own, and I’m quite pumped about it. When she sits on her chair for a meal and food is already in front of her but we aren’t seated yet (because we’re getting the rest of the food plated, placating Baby, cleaning up an emergency spill … you know the game) … she says, “May I please start eating?”

Whoa! Where did that come from?! Nevermind, just hurray!

You know what we say, though? We don’t say, “Go ahead!” We say … wait for it….

No, literally, we say to wait. We ask her to wait until everyone is seated (unless one of us will be busy for a long time as a real emergency). It’s further education on manners, right? But you know what mental image I get? Every time? This:


Patience, young grasshopper….

I feel like we’re training her like she’s a dog or something. The food is staring at her in the face and she is practically salivating  – mind you, we serve vegetables alone as a first course for lunch and dinner, so she’s salivating for broccoli or asparagus, etc – but she sits in her chair and plays with her water cup or vitamin until we all get there.

Good girl! [Pat on the head.] Okay, let’s eat!

I’m glad we’re not expecting too much of her, as she can do it at 3.5yo. Do you all do this to your kids as well? Do you picture a dog with a bone on his nose as well? Or am I just crazy? Wait, don’t tell me….

7 thoughts on “Teaching Manners – With Humor!

  1. Lot’s of attention to detail when being a good parent. But hey, thanks for the mention on the “excuse from the table” bit, but I must confess, I learned that as a boy, from the many Saturday night dinners at Nana’s. You learned manners and how to be polite, napkin on lap, take butter from the butter dish using the butter knife and place the piece on your plate. Then take your knife and spread the butter on whatever. Best Saturday night dinner….many. Worst was Boston baked beans, dry and uhh!!, but she had red checkered table clothes though. Anyway great post, from Catbirds other half and proud dad of yours.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. We’ve done well on please and thank you in general, but we all have terrible table manners, so hopefully our kids will get their lessons from somebody else. Sorry, Somebody Else.

    One time when Brainiacal was 2, she said, “I want a peanut butter and jelly sandwich.” I said, “Can you ask me nicely?” and she looked thoughtful and then said, “I want a peanut butter and jelly sandwich nicely.”

    Liked by 3 people

  3. It’s funny you compared her to dog training. I have a new puppy, and my sister has a baby. We often laugh at how similar our days are, with what we’re trying to teach and the behavior we have to watch out for. Sounds like you’re doing a great job, though. Personally, I really appreciate when people have the manners to remain seated until everyone at the table is done. Who wants to be the one sitting there alone after everyone else has gone to have other fun?

    Liked by 2 people

    • It’s so true!! It’s just that the children can answer us … and talk back! I agree with it being a considerate thing to do – and now that Toddler won’t have a tantrum if she doesn’t get food when she sees it (which Baby does), she can follow this rule.
      Thanks for stopping by!


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