Friday, July 20, 2012

Handy Dandy Manners

This post is dedicated especially to those with young children, but really applies to all humanity, I suppose.

Manners are of high importance at the "Ricardo's apartment" & I'm a firm believer that the earlier they're taught, the better. The catch is that it takes a lot of work and a lot of consistency. In the past weeks/months, it has seemed that training Olivia in manners has been exhausting and draining work with little to no consistent fruit coming forth; I was receiving a lot of contrary responses and "ickies" in return. Not too long ago, Granddaddy was visiting and saw some of Livy's "ickies" coming forth- he said, "Just don't let her win". Wise words and just the reinforcement that I needed- after all, I do have a minor competitive streak in me:)
When you're battling strong will and less than stellar responses from your toddler, the easiest and most tempting choice is to relax and not fuss too much; after all, "they're toddlers and don't know what they're doing and you have plenty of time to teach them manners when they get older. Right?" That's an example of what I frequently hear floating around....

I cannot disagree more. I literally spend hours each day correcting Olivia's responses with, "Livy, did you say please? Well, Mama didn't hear you. Can you say please? Thank you" etc.... I know that it will eventually pay off and so I'm determined to stay the course.

Well, last week I received a lovely reward for this true labor of love when making a return in a retail store; I was solo with both kids so it can be a harrying experience at best! When arriving at the counter and being greeted, I turned to Livy and said, "Livy can you say hi?" She looked up, smiled and said 'hi' in pure sweetness. The male clerk was quite impressed and offered her a sticker- when it was received I said, "Livy, did you say thank you?" and Livy mumbled a thank you while her head was down, trying to adjust her sticker on her shirt. I could have left it but plowed ahead and said, "Livy, can you say it louder so he can hear you please?". Olivia looked up at the clerk and said thank you, like a champ. The clerk commented on how impressed he was and asked how old Livy was- I replied that she had just recently turned two. He said, "Wow. I know adults that don't exhibit manners like your daughter. Great job." I was starting to glow:) I specified that Livy's manners were the result of much hard work behind the scenes and he replied with, "Well, you're doing great & keep up the good work!".

It works! It really does & sometimes when you least expect it to! After multiple weeks of feeling drained, I literally floated out of the store, feeling renewed and encouraged:)

I've worked with Olivia (and now Jonah) from a very early age (around 6 months) to respond when being spoken to, particularly by adults. You may be thinking, "Well a 6 month old obviously can't 'respond'- they're too young." I assure you, I am aware of this, however, I want my children to become comfortable with being prompted to respond correctly. My Mother spoke to myself & 2 brothers constantly which is scientifically proven to stimulate better brain activity in babies/toddlers- I'm endeavoring to do the same for Livy & Jonah.

Jonah is 11 months old and I regularly verbalize to him things like, "Jonah, did you say please?" & "Jonah, we don't have ickies when we don't get our way. We say please and thank you, Mama." I did the same for Olivia and really believe that the continual prompting and encouraging to respond and respond appropriately is invaluable.

I desire my children to set the trends of great behavior and habits, not follow the poor examples of others. That means that "Ricky" & I have a lot of work to do and it won't be ending anytime soon but our kids are worth the investment and so are yours.

Well behaved, happy and secure children don't just happen- they are developed and trained to be such through much time and effort on the part of their parents, not the school system (but that's for another day!).

If you're battling manners with your child/ren at present, take heart! Parenting well is not for the faint in heart but for those who persevere- there are great rewards for those who do & I want to be among them!

It's also never too late to start- I believe the earlier the better, but children/people can be molded, no matter the age, for better or worse.

We're working to build something beautiful & great in the next generation- join me:)

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