Thursday, October 13, 2011

Excuse Me: 5 Proper Ways to Politeness

Please. Thank you. You’re welcome. Sorry. Excuse me.

If you invest a lot of time and effort, a lot of blood, sweat and tears, those sweet sounding words can quickly become a huge component of your child’s thought process and vocabulary. But the real trick isn’t teaching them when to use these words, and how, but to continue teaching them, all the time, never ceasing.

I am constantly told how refreshing it is to see such a young toddler approach life and people with such lovely manners the way Tavin does. They look at him with utter amazement, never fully realizing the excruciating time and effort that I invested in Tavin. I’m not offended by any means, in fact, I’m incredibly proud of Tavin, and proud of myself that I never gave up, even when it seemed impossible to keep going.

1. Mini Me, Indeed

When it comes to polite gestures and behaviors, you—yes, you—have to set the example. There’s a reason this blog is called, Mommy’s Mini Me. You are, quite literally, creating a mini you, like it or not.

Tavin’s amazing polite behaviors didn’t start yesterday. It didn’t even start when he turned two, or one. We started implementing these words and actions in his everyday life from birth. In fact, my husband and I have always lived by these basic rules in our everyday routine. “Please pass me the butter, sweetie…Thank you.” In everything we do, politeness rules and reigns in our regular routine. (It’s also one of the big reasons we have such an amazing marriage, check out my Relationship Revival blog for more info.)

2. Let’s Take it Outside

We don’t just live by those polite standards privately, we also use these common courtesies everywhere we go, even in a world where a good majority of society doesn’t practice these virtuous standards.

I’ve often found that even showing signs of politeness in public throws people off. When I cross someone’s path in a grocery store, and they are pondering what brand of rice to buy, I politely pass by and gently say, “Excuse me.” Most people are shocked to hear that, because most people don’t behave that way. The reason? Parents don’t invest the time to create a generation of polite people.

3. Become a Disciple of Discipline

Being a parent requires extreme discipline. It requires so much time and effort to create an astounding life. Anyone can have a child that will eventually ignore authority, cause societal problems and live their life in prison. In fact, most people are raising those kinds of children. You have to be different. You need to stand out above the rest of the parents of the world. You need to dedicate your life to your child's future, and that means disciplining yourself in order to be a disciplinary to your child. You have to be determined, stay motivated, and remain focused on the ultimate goal: raising a polite child in an impolite world. Make your child different. Make your child stand out, too! Ask yourself if you are raising a child who will bring joy to those around him, or make life insufferable for anyone who comes in contact with him.

4. Giving Up is Easy, Being Relentless is Rewarding

It takes special, intelligent, community conscious adults to be as disciplined as they want their children to be. You will say the same words day after day, you will get frustrated, and you will want to give up because it’s so much easier. Too many parents take the easy route, and again, I understand why. You get sick of it very quickly. It’s so monotonous and irritating, especially those first few hundred times when they don’t get it.

I remember specifically when Tavin was 18 months old and we were teaching him to put his cup on the table rather than leaving it upside down in a puddle on the floor. Jared and I must have said, “Put your cup on the table” at the very least 900 times one day. By 6 PM we were exasperated. When we needed to say it again, I took a deep breath and nearly decided to just throw in the towel and call it quits. I told Jared, “I get why parents give up and just say ‘the heck with it’. It’s so frustrating!” The moment it came out of my mouth, I knew I didn’t want to be that kind of parent. I needed to be consistent for Tavin to take me seriously. I won’t lie, I still find his cup days later in his toy bin, but that’s a pretty rare occurrence now.

5. Prompt-o

Once you get the hang of being disciplined to “keep on keeping on” with your own good behaviors and then your child mimics you, becoming that adorable Mini Me you’ve been longing for, start the prompting cues. You know where they belong. For example, when I accidentally belch, I say, “Oops. Mommy needs to say, ‘excuse me.’ Excuse me, Tavin.” He laughs at me, and then when he burps, he finds it hysterical and then without hesitation says, “Scoos mee, mommee.” And I respond, “You are excused! Good boy. You’re so polite.”

75% of the time, Tavin doesn’t need to be prompted to say thank you, please, or excuse me anymore. It is a part of who he is becoming, and since we practice these behaviors in our everyday lives, it’s not something he will soon ignore or forget.

MOMMY’S MINI ME MISSION: You can do this! Please don’t give up!! Imagine a better world you are creating by raising children who value common courtesy.

Thank you for reading my blog.


  1. I once wrote a blog post about this. Thanks for sharing once again and i hope others get to read and put it in action. I couldn't find where to follow your blog. Thanks for stopping by and i wish you a great weekend..

  2. Hi I’m Heather! Please email me when you get a chance! I have a question about your blog. HeatherVonsj(at)gmail(dot)com