Ok, ok, we know it's been a quite a while.
EtiKids blogs haven't been able to make you smile.
We've missed you tons and couldn't stay away.
We're back to give tips on using manners every day.

Social skills are important as kids get older- even more than before.
They will help your child be leaders in the classroom, on the playground, and on a school tour!
The summer has just started, so it is time to prepare.
Help your child succeed and show them you care.

Before next school year starts with a bang-
Let EtiKids help teach social skills to your gang!
So contact us with stories, comments or questions-
We are always hear to listen to and share suggestions.

Looking forward for what's to come, be prepared to hear a lot.
Just remember... It is not too early to teach your tot!

Fondly,
Julie and Co.
 
 
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Remember how scary it was to sleep at a friend’s house for the first time? There was fear of not knowing where the bathroom was, waking up in the middle of the night and wanting to go home. What if food tasted funny or you got a bellyache in the middle of the night? Even more worries surfaced when the bathrobe, dangling on the door, appeared to be a ghost. Sometime during the day, while playing with lots of different toys, the idea of turning the playdate to a sleepover seemed like a good idea. Now what?

Pack those pajamas! Create a simple list so children can participate in the packing process. This allows the child to become an active, willing and responsible participant. It also helps kids know what they will have to unpack when returning home. A teddy bear or favorite book can help ease the transition. Packing personal care items will be appreciated by the host, who won’t have to supply toothpaste, toothbrush, or other toiletries.

Dress in the best manners
: Leave bodily noises like farting or burping for the bathroom. Play fair and include the host’s runny-nose brother or squealing sister in games. Secrets are for sissies and make others feel bad. Remember to ask before using the phone or taking something out of the refrigerator. Absolutely and positively respect privacy. Resist the urge to peek or snoop into the belongings of other people.

Neatness counts.
Ask the host where to place the overnight bag. Encourage children to keep all their clothes and toys in or on the suitcase. Leaving shoes and stinky underwear all over the house will not earn a return invitation. A sleepover is not a scavenger hunt for dirty clothes or an excuse to mess up someone else’s room!

"With a butterfly kiss and a ladybug hug, sleep tight little one like a bug in a rug." (Author: Unknown) Bedtime usually comes right in the middle of a favorite TV show or winning game. Parents know that chattering and giggling are part of every sleepover, but they won’t want to be on patrol all night long. When the host parent says “Bedtime for teddy bears and all other little children,” the guest should start to get ready for bed, even if the host child runs around the house like a wild animal!

Not all families are the same. As a guest, one should keep an eye on the customs of the house. Politely follow the bedtime ritual of the house, which may include bedtime snack, teeth brushing, and bedtime story.

EtiKids stresses the use of please, thank you, excuse me and sorry in all social situations. Reinforcing these words at home helps them become an integral part of the child’s vocabulary. “Thank you for inviting me to sleep at your house” can be followed up with a written note to encourage politeness, writing and social skills. Remember, even though a child may not always express their gratitude at home, they are capable of thanking their host, learning to be a gracious guest and helping with simple and caring tasks.

With all of the helpful information above, your child is ready to put it into practice. As stated in Maurice Sendak’s book, Where the Wild Things Are, "Let the wild rumpus begin!"

 
 
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Cupcakes. No longer just for children’s birthday parties, cupcakes are now used at weddings, charity events, and other formal dining situations. Cupcake shops and delicatessens are popping up throughout New York City, as the craze just seems to be gaining momentum! Aside from the fact that every diner can get the same ratio of frosting and cake (no longer a fight for the coveted end piece), cupcakes can soothe everyone’s taste buds, albeit chocolate, vanilla, lemon zest or red velvet! The best part is that people with allergies can enjoy a treat that doesn’t lack in shape, texture or flavor (cupcakes are one of the few foods in which the allergy-free versions taste the same!).

On that note, I will say that some people have recently asked if there is an appropriate way to eat the said cupcake. “What is proper cupcake etiquette?” Not to answer a question with a question, but are utensils available? If the answer is yes, a knife should be used to slice off "bite-size bites," which can then be carried to the mouth by hand. This will help reduce an overabundance of crumbs. It will also help provide an appropriate frosting/cake ratio. If a knife is unavailable, a fork or spoon can be used to “slice” the cupcake, but it is not necessary to eat it with a utensil.

If you do not have utensils because the affair is much less formal, and/or you are standing, it is appropriate to break off smaller pieces and place them into your mouth. Biting directly into the cupcake can cause frosting to appear all over your face, which will receive unwelcome snickering from those around you. And yes, I will try to hide a smile but will be laughing as well. Seriously, the secret to cupcakes is to avoid making a mess.

If you are 3 years old, you are probably licking the frosting off first (most kids don’t even bother with the cake part; they just head straight to the frosting). And when they have successfully licked the top off of one, without fail, they will ask for a second. Although it is great to allow children to be kids, our job as grownups is to provide them with the social skills. If they choose to continue licking off only the frosting, well, at least we taught them the right way. Perhaps if grownups provided children with utensils for their cupcakes at an early age, the shock of learning how to slice a “bite-size bite” would not seem so traumatic upon entrance to adulthood. That way, when they are 30 and at a business dinner, they will at least be able to recall the appropriate cupcake etiquette.

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The dog park is a fascinating place to observe society. At first glance, the dogs are separated by size; large and small. Most people are respectful of the weight limit (installed to protect the dogs); however, there is always the owner who believes that rules don't apply. Meaning: the dogs are separated by size except for the special doberman and it's owner in the small dog run. I happen to go into the "Mighty-Mite" pen, as my 6 lb Chihuahua often seems like bait to the larger breeds.

A handful of pooches run around barking at each other, generally having a great time. They roll around, wag their tails, and genuinely look excited to have the space to run leash-free! Meanwhile, there are other dogs on the sidelines, anxiously licking their lips and waiting to be released from the torture (seriously, such an active place is not always the ideal situation for some). Attempting to bridge the gap and bring others into the game, some of the dogs run to the outskirts of the field, hoping to entice the unwilling. The world needs both kinds of dogs, and each is very much appreciated.

In terms of the owners, some notice their dog's obvious discomfort and stand by, lending their support (and open arms for the small guys!) to their "kids." And of course there are other "parents," who seem more concerned with reliving the previous night than ensuring their pooch's safety. Accidents happen because signals are misread (ie- the lip curling does not mean play!) and supervision is not provided. Of course, one can train the dog in the beginning, so it is able to respond in a favorable manner. Inappropriate behaviors need to be caught in the moment and corrected (with positive reinforcement when possible!). Seriously, the dog park is definitely a microcosm of modern society.

On a playground, there are some parents who do not seem overly concerned with what their child is doing; kids pushing their peers down the slide or jumping into a pile of unsuspecting victims (and of course never having anybody model appropriate behavior). However, some parents are too involved in their child's play and do not allow the child the opportunity to run and jump in an age-appropriate manner. The most effective parenting style is to allow children the freedom to be kids, but catch them in the act when they are not behaving in a style that is socially acceptable. Throwing sand will surely lose many friendships in the sandbox. Much like the dog park, catch the child in the act, use a quick "no" and redirect their actions. Attempt to reward for good behavior (more playtime) and leave the park if they are not getting the message. After all, everyone should feel comfortable; whether in the dog run or on the playground.

Not to mention that your child might be behaving perfectly fine, but another child is monopolizing the equipment, and the caregiver is on the cell phone, unaware of the child's actions. As mentioned in Parent.com, you can firmly remind the child that everyone is taking turns. Although it is not your place to discipline another person's child, pointing out social cues to the child will help him/her in this situation and perhaps in the future.

Of course parents need a break (it is SO hard to be on 24/7!); however, playgrounds are optimal teaching "grounds." If you can instill the values early on, so they become innate behaviors, the rewards will pay off immensely. Children can learn lessons on how to behave, respect others, wait their turn and listen to adults (and peers!), but the skills need to be taught right in the moment. Meaning, regardless of how well behaved (or not) your child is, inappropriate behaviors that are corrected, while in the actual situation, are always the most successful.