5 Books to Teach Your Children About Manners {Sponsored}

Disclaimer: This is a Renee's Book Corner sponsored post, but as always, San Diego Moms Blog agrees 100%.

Renee’s Book Corner Series: Chapter One
Written By: Renee May, Renee’s Book Corner 

I managed to get out of Target without spending $150 the other day. Actually, I didn’t buy ANYTHING! While it was disappointing that I hadn’t found the $3 nightlight I had promised my son, it was refreshing I hadn’t spent $150… for a moment.  (Check out “You Have Enough” for more on that!)  That is until my lovely 4-year-old (and really, he is lovely. If you haven’t met him, he is a sunny cartoon character of a little boy) started realizing that we, in fact, were leaving the store without a nightlight AND no toys whatsoever.

I was soon dealing with a full-blown meltdown, red-faced tears, hitting and kicking and my son crying and yelling, “But I WANT more toys! I WANT more toys!” I couldn’t believe it. I tried first to calmly talk him off the ledge and rationalize with him about how he has LOTS of toys at home, he should be grateful for what he has, and all of his God-given blessings.

I transitioned to tactics of guilt about all of the children who don’t have toys in their lives, then into making threats about how he would NEVER get something he wanted by acting this way, and finally a swat on the bottom for kicking and hitting me.  Yeah. That could have gone better. We were a mess.

The whole episode left me at loss for what I should do in these scenarios. I had clearly failed at parenting my child, and I was raising a little demanding brat!! (And… being from a family of 5, I totally freaked out that my only child was uh… don’t make me say it… spoiled!)

Additionally, it made me think back to a recent work trip I had in Japan. While I was there, I was so impressed by the kindness and respect the Japanese paid me as a lost and confused visitor in their country. I spent a lot of time in the airports, train stations and restaurants watching the locals. They were kind, quiet, and respectful, to EVERYONE. People looked you in the eye when they spoke to you, they were engaged and not walking around with their noses in their phones. On numerous occasions, as I stared up at signs written in Japanese, looking confused… I had complete strangers kindly ask me if they could help, stopped what they were doing and physically took me where I needed to go, helped me buy tickets, whatever I needed. Do you think that would happen in SFO or La Guardia? Absolutely not.

And the families… I was intrigued watching families with two or three children playing quietly while waiting for their flights. I did not see one meltdown, one child bouncing off the walls, any scolding or timeouts. They also were NOT using iPads to distract or control them! The insecure, judgemental side of my mind thought, “Oh these kids are so controlled, their childhood spirit is repressed. Surely they have used corporal punishment to get their children to behave like this!” However, as I walked through the Tokyo airport, I was greeted by little voices, squealing, and laughter as I stumbled upon an airport playground. Nope. Japanese children are just like American kids! They like to laugh, play, skip, jump, run and do all the normal things our kids do too!

So what was the difference? What was I missing? While now I am intrigued by the Japanese way of parenting and will certainly have to do more research on their ways of child-rearing and discipline (there you go, next SDMB post!)  my initial takeaway was how their parents lead by example and what amazing manners they had!

So like any book-loving, desperate parent with a spoiled child (yep… I said it twice. Is it time for therapy?), I raced home to pull a few Usborne Books out of my inventory. Luckily, I am an Usborne consultant and have a small bookstore in my garage. We set forth that night with the first session of Training Manners 101.

Here are a few that I picked out:

Miss Molly’s School of Manners: Ages 3+: A picture book full of different examples of proper manners! $14.99.
Meet Algernon, a little raccoon, who was never very polite… until the day he came across Miss Molly’s School of Manners. Follow his lessons with Miss Molly, as he learns to pay attention in the Listening Carefully Lab, explores the Library of Lovely Language, picks up some table manners in the Dining Hall of Decorum, and finally becomes a good sport at Good Sports Day.

Cuddle Bears Book of Hugs: Ages 3-7: The beautifully illustrated and heartwarming story of Cuddle Bear and his mission to bring hugs to everyone big small, cuddly and prickly! Everyone around the world needs some love!  Cuddle Bear has a plan: his Hug Academy, to teach lots of little teddy bears just how to cheer up children everywhere!

Can I Join your Club? Ages 3-8: Duck just has one question: Can I Join Your Club? He wants to belong to all of them. To any of them. Elephant Club, Lion Club, he just wants to belong. And he tries so hard to fit in so he can – kids will love pointing out in the illustrations just exactly how he tries – a curly wig, dark glasses – but it just doesn’t work. He can’t be someone else. So, he starts his own club. And there’s ONE rule – everyone is welcome! Because when it comes to making friends, being yourself is all that counts, in this heartwarming celebration of diversity, inclusiveness, and friendship.

The Thank you Dish: Ages: 3-8: It’s dinnertime at Grace’s place. “Thank you, alpaca,” says Grace. “Alpaca,” asks Mama. “Why would you thank an alpaca?” This simple, charming and heartwarming book is a celebration of dinnertime and family time, and a child-friendly explanation of the value of community, sharing and… gardening!

Be Kind, Be Nice, Spread Happy: Ages: 7+: Activity book. This cool and quirky title is full of ways to spread a bit of happy, and release your inner ninja of niceness with some guerrilla acts of goodness. From sending hugs through the mail to being “pushy” at the park, there’s a helper hint for every hero.

Ryker and I have been revisiting Miss Molly’s School of Manners about once a week and Cuddle Bear Book of Hugs, Can I Join Your Club, and All Better are staples in our reading selection. The big question is… is it WORKING?!?! Well, I can say I am always warmed by how caring and gentle he is with little creatures, and he is always “saving” the bug on the sidewalk or the snail slithering across the path.

As far as the manners… hmm… let’s just say it’s a work in progress! I do know one thing… he doesn’t want to “go” to Miss Molly’s School of Manners!! The battle isn’t won, but I will take baby steps at this point!

About Renee’s Book Corner
Renee May is a Team Leader and Educational Consultant with Usborne Books & More! based in San Diego, CA. She has spent the last 17 years traveling the world as a helicopter pilot in the United States Navy and just recently joined Usborne Books & More as her journey into motherhood has had her flying fewer helicopters. Renee’s Book Corner is our official San Diego Beer & Coffee Moms partner, providing us with toddler story time at our meetups. She is an amazing mother, entrepreneur and San Diego Moms Blog partner. 

If you are interested in learning more about becoming an Usborne Books & More consultant, or more about Renee and Usborne Books & More, feel free to contact her directly at reneesbookcorner@gmail.com, join her closed Facebook Group or follow her on instagram @reneesbookcorner for more information. Renee’s Book Corner featuring Usborne Books & More is an exclusive SDMB partnership with special perks all year long for SDMB Moms.

PERK ALERT – Make a purchase of $40+ to receive access to the current Customer Specials, plus a FREE MINI book when joining Renee’s closed VIP Facebook Group!  Just mention “5 Books to Teach Your Children About Manners” Post!


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