I like to think that Kale is like any other two year old could use some work on his grace and courtesy skills. We've recently entered the "mine" phase and any sense of sharing and manners seem to have disappeared from Kale's little mind. Kale is good at sharing - but only when he wants to. He's good at waiting his turn - but only as long as his patience lasts. He says please and thank you when he remembers - but not when you remind him. You get the picture.
Yet as much as I'd like to think all his behaviours are typical of a two year old, I think he is a bit unique when it comes to his barbaric table manners. He long ago refused to sit in a booster chair, favouring his small table and chairs set that resembles his school setting. Then he changed his mind and decided that sitting at the big table with mama and papa was kind of awesome. Especially when you can dance and bounce on your chair, reach for food off other people's plates, and demand that everyone finish as soon as do.
I know that grace and courtesy - walking carefully, carrying things, moving gracefully, offering food, saying "please" and "thank you" and so are - is an important category of practical life activities for Montessori. When I talked to Kale's teachers, I found out that he's the picture of good grace & courtesy at snack and lunchtime with his classmates. Clearly we needed to work on it at home!
MariaMontessori.com has a great post about the Magic of Grace & Courtesy and LivingMontessoriNow.com has a great collection of grace and courtesy activities for at home or school if you're interested in learning more.
In an effort to work on Kale's grace and courtesy, we decided a tea party was in order:
During our tea party, we worked on taking turns pouring our tea, sharing our treats, inviting others (papa) to join us, waiting until everyone was finished, sitting in our chair, and saying please and thank you. Kale did surprisingly good with this activity! I think that engaging him more with simple tasks (like passing a cup) and being more deliberate with my own manners was what made the difference. Sometimes dinner can just be a rush to get to the table and then Kris and I spend the meal trying to catch up on our day with one another, rather than demonstrating grace & courtesy to Kale. I'm excited to try some of the things we did at our tea party at the dinner table tonight!
How do your kids do at the dinner table? How are their manners? What do you do to help them improve their grace and courtesy?
I'm linking up with Living Montessori Now for Montessori Monday and Covered in Grace Monday Meet Up!