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BFBN: Manners Matter

It’s a Babywise Friendly Blog Network pinterest day!  Check out our pinterest board for lots of great posts from all the ladies.  Today we are all writing about virtues.

Text: Manners Matter  {text in white over picture of red tulips}
My title may seem confusing, because as I said we are talking virtues today.  Are manners really a virtue?  I know I often think of kindness, generosity, patience, etc when I hear the word virtue.  But really, I do think manners fit in to this.  Let’s be real, it is hard to act with kindness and respect towards others or yourself if you are being rude.  Manners allow for civil discourse, which allows other virtues to shine through,  So yes, manners are a virtue and they matter.  I fully admit I am no Emily Post by any means.  I am not perfect at them, and I am for sure no expert.  I also know that different situations call for different types/levels of manners.  But at the end of the day using your manners and being polite show respect for those around you and respect for yourself.  They allow us all to function in society with a level of kindness and decency.  Because of this I really emphasize manners in Ben.  I plan to focus on it with him and the girls as they grow.  (I admit though, I give the three month olds a pass on manners, despite the large numbers of times they have burped at me.)

Ben is two and a half, so we are starting with the most basic of manners- the magic words.  For us this includes four main phrases- please, thank you, hello, and goodbye.
Please and thank you.  Everyone knows these magic words.  They show general appreciation and respect for those who do something for us.  I think they are so important for kids to learn, as a lot of their interactions with adults involve asking for something.  Getting Ben to say please was pretty easy.  All we did was not give him what he wanted until he said please.  Kids are smart, they can figure out pretty quickly how to get what they want.  Of course we do have situations where he says please and we still have to say no.  In these cases we try to remember to thank him for saying please and acknowledge his manners, but the answer is still no.  So far it hasn’t derailed him from using please.
Thank you is a little harder, which makes sense.  It comes after you have already gotten what you want.  The motivation to use that magic word isn’t as great.  But Ben is getting better at it.  I try to remember to make Ben say thank you before he actually gets what he wants.  I know that technically isn’t how the exchange is supposed to go, but it helps motivate him to use thank you more.  I know repetition with this will solidify the need to say thank you.  Thank you and please are and will be mainstays in our home at all times.
Hello and goodbye.  These are not generally thought of as the magic words.  Back when Ben was born I read a book called Bringing Up Bébé. (aff)  It’s one of those books about how the French do everything better than us. 😉  I enjoyed it and recommend it.   One thing it talked about was manners, and how please and thank you are command words.  They both involve situations where the child usually gets something.  Hello and goodbye are acknowledgement words.  They are simply used in interactions between people.  By using hello and goodbye Ben has to stop what he is doing and be aware of another person.  This helps children start to think outside of themselves a bit.  They don’t get anything for it, they just interact with another person.  We really focus on him doing this with adults.  Now, Ben is two.  So we don’t always actually get a hello or goodbye out of him every time.  I don’t overly force this one, I try to keep in mind how young Ben is.  My hope is that in time we will build up to making eye contact and eventually feeling confident speaking with his peers and adults with respect.
This is just the start to our manners journey with the kids.  As I said I am big on being polite, so we will build off of these!
Be sure to check out what all the other ladies have pinned on the Babywise Friendly Blog Network pinterest page!
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