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My son shouted, “I want popcorn!” I quickly responded, “Please go back into the other room and come back in here and ask me the correct way. Try again.” He obliged and returned stating, “May I have some popcorn please?” I always have to stay on him, but dog gone it, he is going to get it. He will have good manners!

Having good manners is intangible. Manners suggest gratitude and humility. But most importantly, manners reflect on your family and what your parents have taught you.

A simple please and thank you can go a long way. Whether the T’s’ are asking for a “boxed juiced” or seconds, my husband and I are encouraging them to say please and thank you.

Have you ever been in the midst of an adult conversation and your child is jumping up and down, chanting, “Mommy, Mommy?” Whether my husband and I are speaking, or if I am on the telephone with my mother, I can guarantee my son will need something. We have taught him a more kind and less intrusive way to get our attention; a simple, “excuse me Mommy or Daddy.” I am much more likely to stop and acknowledge him and his need when he kindly says excuse me versus chanting and jumping up and down like a pogo stick.

All Mom’s love cleaning up messes they didn’t make, right? Wrong! I like to keep a tidy house, but cleaning up mess after mess gets old. We are sticklers, for making the T’s clean up their messes. Sing songs, make it a race. Either way, we are adamant about teaching them how to clean up after themselves.

Bag lady – that could be my nickname. Every morning I have my purse, my laptop bag, diaper bag and lunch bag. Perhaps my husband taught my older son this, but he loves to hold the door open for me. I love his sweet little voice, “I’ll open the door for you Mommy.” A perfect example of a small gesture going a long way.

Last, but certainly not least is eye contact. Every day we are parenting, teaching and disciplining the T’s. What three year old likes to be disciplined? Mine doesn’t. He’ll sulk, pout, and look down. When I am speaking to him, I always ask him to look at my eyes. Eye contact is so important. It shows attentiveness and genuine interest. Most importantly, it is teaching him communication skills.

Ultimately, I realize the T’s are typical toddlers. They are not always going to be nice and they will not always mind their manners. Yet, with prayer, consistency, love and compassion I believe we’ll raise some fine young boys.

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