children, humor, kids, motherhood, parenting

The Manners Game

How do you teach your children manners?  My methods thus far have been modeling the manners I would want from my boys, and repetitive reminders to say ‘please, thank you, sir/ma’am’, hold doors for others, etc. I am officially over the repetitive reminding.  I’ve probably been over it since early 2010.  Since I don’t have a creative alternative I’m kind of stuck with what I got.  Until…

I brilliantly came up with a pebble/reward system for every time the boys use good manners in public without a reminder.  If they each fill a jar to the rim they earn a special privilege.  I especially wanted them to focus on speaking respectfully to adults.  Nothing pains me more than when a lovely elderly person asks the boys how they are doing, and the boys respond with a silly dance followed by a fall to the ground in a very unbecoming slapstick sort of way.   I was feeling good about my newly minted reward system and happy the boys showed extreme enthusiasm.  Until…

First stop was the gym.  I was headed to workout and went to drop the boys in the kid zone.  They went up to every adult in a 200 foot radius and said, “How are you doing today, ma’am/sir?”  They said, “Thank you, ma’am!” or “Thank you sir!”  if a woman or man glanced at them even in the slightest of ways (honestly, they were hard to ignore with the manners spectacular they were displaying).    They said, “You’re welcome, sir!  How are you doing today, sir?” to each other about 157 times and then tried to hold the door for every single person in the tri-county area.

At this rate I now officially owe them 497 pebbles a piece and counting. 

It’s time to tweak the rules, don’t you think?

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