Manners Course for Toddlers Is Perfect for Insecure & Aspirational Parents (VIDEO)

Say What!? 22

mannersIs your 3-year-old a little hellion with no manners? Well. Maybe he's a totally normal 3-year-old. Or! Maybe he needs to take the "Manners for 3, 4 & 5 Year Olds" course with Peggy Newfield. Peggy has created a "remarkable" course on etiquette. Watch and marvel as well-trained children politely introduce each other, greet callers on the telephone, and place cloth napkins on their laps -- the correct way.

Does this scare anyone else?

Look, I'm all for teaching kids manners. It's becoming a lost art, truly. But there's something Stepford Wife-ish about this video. Do we really want little kids to be this sedate and robotic?

Okay ... a manners class for 3-year-olds ... that lasts 55 to 60 minutes?!? No class for 3-year-olds should last that long except maybe gymnastics or soccer. I really have to wonder how much editing/threatening was required to produce this short sampler video. I know it's a smallish class with three adults, but these do not look like the preschoolers I'm familiar with.

I actually like some of what I saw. Learning how to chew slowly and cut with a knife? Awesome. Learning how other people hear them over the phone? Fantastic -- an essential lesson in empathy. But learning the "proper" way to unfold a cloth vs. paper napkin? Come on, that's pretty fussy territory for such little kids. I mean, let's just get them to use the napkins instead of their sleeves, you know?

I think there are two different approaches to etiquette. A woman I know once said her favorite word in the English language is "appropriate." She's kind of obsessed with rules and propriety. Her kind of etiquette is about knowing your place and making others feel shame and judgement. It's about learning how to be polite even when you're treating someone unkindly. It's about feeling "better" than everyone else. Those slobs!

Then there's the other approach: Emily Post once said, "Manners are a sensitive awareness of the feelings of others. If you want to have that awareness, you have good manners, no matter what fork you use." Emily's approach is about making everyone around you feel valued. In other words, the best approach to manners is to teach your child to care about other people's feelings and to communicate clearly. I fear that lesson may be lost in the discussion over the proper way to unfold a paper napkin.

But hey -- there's a silver lining with these lessons! They come with a business plan -- seriously. I guess that's how you justify the $1,195 price tag for the videos and manual? Zoiks! Did you know, etiquette isn't just an important life lesson, it's also a money-maker. Or was that rude of me to point out?

How do you teach your children good manners?

 

Image via AmSchoolofProtocol/YouTube

discipline, learning, mrs manners, toddler development

22 Comments

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fleur... fleurdelys3110

I think this is a great idea and would not hesitate to enroll my future kids in such a class. When you don't expect a lot from kids, they know it. When you expect them to act like barbarians, they will. If you taught your kids manners from the get go, then they will know that expectations are higher and that they are being treated like REAL people. Their behavior will definitely reflect this. If you want them to act civilized, treat them that way.

nonmember avatar Michelle

So preschool for my 3-year old goes from 8-11am twice a week but 55-60 minutes is too long for them to pay attention? Maybe THAT is what's wrong with society. We can't WAIT for anything! The woman who is doing these classes is a GENIUS, and I wouldn't think twice about enrolling my daughter despite the price tag. The fact that no one knows how to properly do ANYTHING anymore is just plain depressing. MANNERS MATTER!

nonmember avatar M

If you think of a 3-year old acting like a hellion is "normal" than maybe YOU need to sign your kids up for this. Sorry, but that statement is just an excuse for lazy parenting. How is this class just for insecure parents?...and you liked SOME of what you saw? Geez, you must have awfully low expectations for your children, and I fear you are no example for them to follow either based on your naysaying twist on this otherwise fantastic influence on young children.

Peggy Newfield

Dear Ms. Velez,

Thank you for blogging about our company, The American School of Protocol and our exceptional Training program, “Manners for 4, 3 & 5 Year Olds”. We appreciate you helping us to get the word out.

You bring up a great point in your article about 3 year olds not being able to last in a class for an hour. In our test pilot we were told the same thing by the director of the preschool facility. At the end of each hour class the children did not want us to leave. We simply blew away the staff and teachers at the daycare center.

We enchant and engage each child and we push them to the limits in every class. If 0 -3 years old is the greatest learning curve that a child has, why waste time with mediocre training. Dumbing down to children will never help our great country excel in education. Today we rank #26 in the world. Opening the napkin if it is paper and folding the napkin if it is cloth is nothing but awareness training.

Thank you again,

Peggy Newfield, President
The American School of Protocol

Pinkmani Pinkmani

You don't have to pay for a manners course, just lead by example and correct your children when they're wrong. 


If you think an hour is too long for a kid to learn something, then good luck to you when they start school! I'm not saying I'm Emily Post, but you're probably the woman I'm staring and judging at in the grocery store because her kids think the pasta aisle is the playground. 

Rebec... Rebecca7708

See, and I thought just using manners in front of my child and spending time with them working on things such as this would be sufficient. In all honesty, I think this is a giant waste of time and money. You wouldn't pay someone to teach your child how to make their bed, or how to dress themselves. Why would you pay someone to teach them something they should be learning by example? I know I sound sanctimonious and snooty but, seriously people! If your child needs etiquette lessons maybe you should be looking at the example you are setting for them.

GlowW... GlowWorm889

Manners are important, and should never be the thing you neglect to teach your child. My family was HUGE on manners (especially table manners) when I was growing up. And I hated it at the time. I couldn't do anything right or anything "fun." And it was all the time...my mother would often quote "Miss Manners." But as an adult, I am grateful that the rules of social ettiquette were drilled into me. My friend's parents loved having me over because I was polite and treated them with respect. In college, my manners and politeness led to many compliments on my "professionalism" and "maturity." Using my manners has never done me a wrong turn in my life.  


I can't stand kids who are rude and have bad table manners. It is one of my biggest pet peeves. For typically developing children, there is no excuse for it. Most kids I see today would benefit greatly from this kind of course.

MomLi... MomLily67

You teach them from day "1". It is so adorable to hear a 9 or 10  month old say their version of  "thank you". And all those little trick, like bye-bye, nite-nite, etc, are manners. 


They by imitating their parents,so if you say "I love you" to  your husband/partner your baby will also say it.


Now, social etiquette is a bit different but it is also important to teach them, not hard at all, and it can be fun. You don't have to go all out about it, just adjust to your own social activities.

count... countrygirl670

Adriana, I'm going to throw my manners out the window with this response and tell you that you need to raise the bar on what you expect from your children.  This kind of attitude- that children cannot be expected to demonstrate good manners and proper social etiquette- are exactly why they are becoming a "lost art".  My children have always been expected to use good table manners even as toddlers.  When my oldest daughter was very young, I would let her invite her friends to tea parties, which provided great opportunities to teach some essentials (my oldest is now 14 and knows how to set a proper table).  I recently had dinner with a group of 15, some of which were children.  On couple had 3 children 5 and under who had NO table manners whatsoever, and they acted like complete animals, nearly ruining the entire dinner for everyone else.  I think you might be taking some liberties with how you interpret Emily Post...

early... earlybird11

Oh this is great ! We have worked on manner words first, bc we think.its mist important. and as a boy he has been taught to shake.hands with greeting others. He is 14 months old, so I will tell u. never too late. However, his daycare has been a large help bc.they incorporate these in.fun ways. Ways they r taught to teach bc that's what they do. And my son picks up quicker .

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