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"Sit down in your chair! Do you want to get staples in your head AGAIN?!?!"This is every single meal of my life these days. And yet, somehow I already grew two kids into near adulthood who are pleasant to eat with, so I know that one of these days a meal with the Head of Demolition will consist of something other than barking direct orders while attempting to swallow.
"Food needs to stay in your mouth!"
"You don't reach into other people's plates for food! You eat the food off your OWN plate! This is MY plate!"
I frequently turn to picture books to help teach manners. It has the advantage of distance: children can discuss good or poor manners while not in the thick of things, so they can learn at a time when they're not busy feeling defensive or blamed.
For example, upon seeing David flee down the street naked in the book No, David!, the Head of Demolition offered a clear verdict on its appropriateness:
"I wanna do DAT!"
She knows what she wants, at any rate.
What Do You Say, Dear? is one of my absolute favorites for manners. It's older, so the pictures aren't the bright colors kids are used to these days, but the scenarios are just so silly that kids still love it. Not only that, but the way the book is set up, the kids get to guess what to say in each situation, and they usually get it right.
This book offers not only a gentle way to talk about interrupting (a little chicken ruins bedtime stories by telling the endings), but is funny too. I love it just for the title. I mean, who wouldn't want to reference "Interrupting Chicken" when talking about manners?
Rude Cakes - An absurd but cute book about a cake that gets used for a hat and learns manners along the way:
Do Unto Otters: A Book About Manners brings a great deal of fun to learning manners. Plus it's just hard to beat the line, "Everyone appreciates a kind act, no matter how bad it smells."!
Please, Mr. Pandais just a strange book. A panda bear goes around offering everyone donuts, but rescinding the offer when the intended recipient doesn't say "please."
The first time we read it, it took me awhile to figure out who was supposed to be demonstrating the good manners and who had the poor manners. Certainly it wasn't the panda offering the donuts.
We continue to read this one though, because the Head of Demolition likes it and the pictures are really nice.
Mind Your Manners, B.B. Wolf is great for elementary age. This big, bad wolf is just trying to be polite, after all. And plus, he offers a huge burp for laughs.
I usually consider myself pretty spectacularly unsuccessful in teaching volume control (just ask anyone who has taught next door to me!). Yet somehow it did sink in with my older kids eventually.
My Dog Never Says Please - This girl is super jealous of her dog who never has to use manners. A fun look at the pros and cons of being human.
You're Finally Here! - A bunny bemoans the reader's tardiness, then proceeds to ignore the reader in favor of taking a phone call:
Splat Says Thank You! This book is more about how to be a good friend than it is about saying the actual words "Thank you." But still...the words get said a LOT.
We got a different Splat Cat book out of the library and it was full of Splat Cat's friend telling him he was going to be a "loser" though, so I wouldn't give a blanket recommendation to the entire series. This one was nice though.
My Bossy Dolly - The little girl in this story is very polite, but her dolly is totally out of control.
Mama Don't Allow offers a great springboard for discussion about the hows and whens and whys of controlling one's noise level, even though it is not a book aimed at teaching manners.
Plus, it has a traditional song to go with it, making it automatically one of my favorites.
I Just Forgot is not a manners book either, but I like Little Critter and it's a nice book for talking about why it's important to clean up, and how to help out around the house.
It's been a long time since I've read this one, but if I'm remembering correctly, it covers a lot of ground:
I'm really not a Berenstain Bears person, but...they do have a book for every situation:
The Berenstain Bears Forget Their Manners
These dino books are usually rhyming with funny negative examples ending in the way dinosaurs would act in a perfect world.
How Do Dinosaurs Eat Their Food?
Manners books that I haven't actually read, but look good:
I plan to buy Thingumajig Book of Manners for the Head of Demolition because 1) the local library doesn't have it and 2) the Chief Travel Correspondent LOVED it when she was four. Her preschool teacher used it to teach manners and she came home talking about it all the time.
If this one is even half as good as it sound on Amazon, it's worth checking out:
Mary Louise Loses Her Manners
This one looks cute and talks about interrupting:
My Mouth Is a Volcano!
I'm sure I must have read this at some point. I mean, it's Madeline! The Head of Demolition definitely needs this one:
Madeline Says Merci: The Always-Be-Polite Book
I like this illustrator and it's another singing book, which means I already like it even though I haven't seen it:
Are You Quite Polite?
The illustrations look cute, but who really knows?
Monster Knows Table Manners
This looks entertaining for the upper elementary set:
Dude, That's Rude!
Anyway...that's what we've got so far around here! Hopefully we will be able to add to this list as the Head of Demolition grows! Happy weekend all!