I remember so many times, when my oldest children were young, wondering if they would ever learn to say “please” and “thank you” without having to remind them. We would practice repeatedly while we worked, played, ate… “Thank you Mommy for breakfast.” ” Thank you Daddy for tying my shoe.”
I think that one of the most pleasurable ways to teach manners is at an afternoon tea. Of course, who couldn’t enjoy taking a break in the middle of the day to sit and chat over tea? When the children are young, it is fun to invite many stuffed animals or dolls, that way the children can help teach the “guests.” It is a delight to hear a four year old repeat to a teddy bear, “Would you care for some tea?” “Would you like cream or sugar?” and to have the child reply for the bear, “Oh, yes please!” and “Thank you so much!”
Even now that many of our children are older, there is nothing like sitting together with a cup of tea in hand. It seems to set the mood for some quality time. I still want my children to know, whatever the age, that I have time for them and I want to listen.