A really important value for me, and one that I’m completely unrelenting on for my eldest cub, NJ, is using good manners. I was always brought up to be well mannered and am of the opinion that it’s a really important trait of a man. As such I push him to make sure he always remembers to say please and thank you and try to understand when it’s appropriate to use each one.
Now he does let it slip sometimes at home, he is only 3 after all, and I remind him often, but there’s not much that makes me burst with pride more than when he’s been somewhere else, be it nursery, a friends house or a party, and I’m told by the teacher/parent etc how polite and good mannered my son is. This happened a week or so ago when he had tea at one of our friend’s house, with their children too. The dad commented to me when I arrived how polite NJ had been, even to the extent of asking if he could get down from the table! Part of our manners culture is also about being respectful, part of which is how it’s polite and respectful to say thank you to the people that feed you. My brother and I did it when we were growing up and we’re both passing it on to our children – Thank you for my dinner, can I please leave the table? (“No, you have to take it with you”, I’m sure he’ll get a few times as he gets older lol). It’s not often I have to remind him of this now, which pleases me lots 🙂
So when do you start with this manners training? Is there a bootcamp you can send your children on? Well hopefully it’s part of what you do yourself anyway, because there’s not many better ways for our children to learn than by example. It can also start at a very young age, as soon as they start to give and take things, and make noises, the formative stages of building a vocabulary. Our youngest cub, J-Bub, turns one this weekend and as he gives us things now we say to him “Ta J-Bub, Thank you”, and also encourage him to say Ta when we give him something.
It’s never too early to be polite.