Ever wonder how you can teach manners to your rambunctious preschool grandchildren without coming across like a disciplinarian? You can take a leaf from the program at the Escuela Preschool in Minot, North Dakota, where four- and five-year-olds invited their grandparents to a tea party.
At Escuela, the children’s teacher, Paula Simonson, put on a hat and let the children choose hats for themselves and for their grandparents. Then Ms. Simonson sat with the youngsters, teaching them how to hold a teacup correctly, how to nibble on a cookie, and how to talk politely with their grandparents. She even suggested conversational topics that the children could raise with the older generation, like the weather – or asking Grandma “how she’s feeling after her gallbladder operation.”
This is a great activity that any of us grands can do with our own little ones. In fact, two of the grannies whose stories I tell in SUPER GRANNY did something similar. Once a year Patti takes her six granddaughters to a teahouse that has a huge trunk full of fur boas and other dress-up items, “where they get a chance to use their good table manners.” And about once a week Carol hosts her grandsons at a festively set table (including animal-face paper plates) and has conversations ranging from favorite colors to the solar system.
I was so tickled recently to see, at the Dolphin Bookshop here in Port Washington, MANNERS CAN BE FUN, the Munro Leaf book about manners that I had when my daughters were small – and that I even remember from my own childhood. I think this is the one that taught me to cover my mouth when I yawned, by showing a huge open mouth. There are a lot of things I don’t remember – but this is one that I do. It made quite an impression – and I’m glad this childhood classic is still being published, sold, and teaching manners in a delightful way.