I'm not posting "Manners Mondays" in a smug my-kids-have-the-best-manners-around-and-this-is-why way...that would be VERY far from the truth!
I'm sharing this because "Manners Mondays" happened because:
A: I had been so busy being busy that my kids were bossing me around so much that...although sometimes frustrated with it...I had mostly grown immune to it.
B: my parents kept my little tyrants for TWO DAYS and literally told them they couldn't come back if they didn't learn better behavior.
C: I was getting to the point that I was so FRUSTRATED with their behavior that the tiniest things were sending me into meanness. (Imagine lots of teeth gritting with snarls of "How many times do I have to tell you...?!)
D: I've been working on John Rosemond's New Year's Resolutions this year and this fell under #2.
E: All of the above.
E! All of the above. When I really got to the breaking point I realized that I had been TELLING, PLEADING, CONJOLING, BEGGING, THREATENING...etc. my children to do a lot of things, but in doing that I wasn't TEACHING them anything...unless you count teaching them how to be a frustrated parent!
So "Manners Mondays" began. Yesterday we did our fifth manner and I have been so pleased with how much they have learned so far!
I'm using the book 50 Things Every Young Gentleman Should Know by John Bridges and Brian Curtis (*For any age child, BUY THIS BOOK!...most manners apply to both gentlemen AND ladies*) as my starting point. Their format is easy and simple. I change some of my dialogue to directly relate to situations I see go down in my house.
We do our manner lesson on Mondays...after our school snack...just us. It is best that my husband isn't there because that night at the dinner table he gets to ask about what manner was learned for the day and it gives them one more time to reinforce what they learned that day.
Here's a sample lesson:
-First we sing "Manners Monday" to the tune of "Manic Monday". This grabs their attention and we dance and sing and act all crazy. The kids LOVE this and it gets their "sillies" out.
It's just another Manners Monday!...oh, oh.
It's not Sunday!...oh, oh.
We are gonna have a fun day!
It's just another Manners Monday!
I sit like a teacher up on a chair and I have them sit criss-cross-applesauce and I run it all like a lesson. "Today we will be learning about please. Can you two give me some examples of when you would use please?"...
Then I read from the forementioned book, with my own spin:
"Saying please is the simplest thing you will EVER have to do. It is like [doing the easiest lesson] at your school. It is a [home run], a slam dunk. It is smart to start using the word "please" as often as you can, beginning right now. It will make life go very smoothly for you!"
"Here's what is in it for you...Remember when you were [a baby] and you would ask for something [cue bratty example in baby voice] "Give me a drink." and before your [sweet, patient, absolutely fabulous batting my eyelashes] mom would give it to you, she would stand there asking "How do you ask...What do you say?" and of course you would [smile and]say "Pleeease." and she would give it to you. That was cute when you were [a baby], but look how old you are now!"
"If you haven't already started using "please" ALL of the time, you should be worried. And your parents certainly ought to be very concerned. They may even be asking themselves, "Should we even bother putting [him on a baseball team], or [letting her go to dance]? Why should we do that for them...They can't even say please."
Then we role play where I say really bratty things in a really bratty voice and they giggle and thumbs down it and tell me how I SHOULD say it. Next we give as many examples that we can think of as proper ways to use "please".
At the end of each chapter there is a "You Do" where we nod and do thumbs up..."You Don't" where we shake our head and do thumbs down...and "Why" where we do an exaggerated shrug holding our hands out.
Then we are done...if I were to time it...which I just may :) ...I bet it is less than 15 minutes! And the best part is that the lessons are working!
The kids KNOW now that they have learned the manner and because we use a lot of dialogue they almost feel like they have "bought into" the manner. Each lesson I tell them that it is hard to remember to use manners and even mommy has several that she needs to work on (which is oh so TRUE!...Chapter 17...Thank You Notes!), but we all work on them because we are always striving to be better! They are not confused when there is a consequence for not using manners they have learned. And they are so PROUD when they get a "manner ribbon" at Family Night when I catch them using good manners.