One of my first Christmases with SuperHub, he gave me a copy of Emily Post.
From the time I was a young girl, my parents taught me the importance of knowing how to behave so that we were comfortable in any setting.
When I was seven, we moved to Australia for three years. During that time, we had countless opportunities to attend dinners, picnics, and meet visiting dignitaries. While they never expected perfection and always understood we were children, my parents told us early on that we represented all Americans anytime we were overseas.
That is a heavy burden to bear. But it is absolutely true.
I remember meeting Vice President (at the time) Dan Quayle during his visit to Sydney and having our picture taken with him. He put his hand on the back of my neck and it was pulling my hair really hard. Even as an 8-year-old, I knew this was not the time to yell out, "Hey dude! That hurts!"
When SuperDad and I had kids, we started teaching them basic manners as soon as they could join us at the table.
Once they started thinking on their own and talking, however, it was a whole new ball game.
So I started reading about how I could instill manners from a young age.
The absolute best thing I came across is...
The "Excuse Me" touch.
The Excuse Me touch is a tool you teach your kids from about 3 years old. Anytime you are talking to another adult, or on the phone, your child places their hand on your wrist/arm/leg and waits patiently for you to pause and answer them. This system works like a charm!
Here are a few tips for success!
- Start off by making it a fun thing that they are finally old enough to do.
- Don't make them wait too long. I usually finish my thought, or if I am waiting for someone else to finish theirs I wink at my kid and put my hand on their hand to acknowledge them.
- Lean in close and listen very carefully to what they say, giving them eye contact. This gives them your full attention, which may be all they need.
- Always start by saying, "Thank you SO much for using your excuse me touch! What did you need?
- If they interrupt you instead, lean down (again with the eye contact) and say "Oh dear, you forgot your excuse me touch! Did you need something?" The simple reminder usually brings it back pretty quickly.
I have been using this with my kids for years! I'm not saying they are perfect children, because they are kids. Kids are no more perfect (or capable of perfection) than you are. However, given the right tools, they can do amazing things! This tool saved me from ignoring my kids, and from being constantly interrupted. Wahoo!