The Polite Press
 A regular newsletter published by The PoliteChild™
 Vol II, No 2
March 2003 

In This Issue

1. President's Corner
2. Question of the Month
3. The Challenges and Duties of a Playdate Host
4. Making An Impact in our Community
5. Coming to a State Near You
6. Easier Ways to Register
7. New Member Schools
8. Licensing Program
9. Upcoming Events
 

President's Corner

Dear loyal PoliteChild community members and other supporters:

I'm going to ask you for some help today with a problem we haven't been able to solve internally. In exchange for your help, I'd like to offer you a special rate on our Teens and 'Tweens SocialSmarts™ Course. This is our introductory course that we formerly called "The Basic Course" which has been recently renamed to highlight the class focus and its content.

While our classes for the other age groups have been filling to capacity, we've had difficulty getting enough teen and pre-teen students enrolled to justify kicking off a local course. In California, this hasn't been the problem; one of our classes in Palm Desert, California has twenty-nine 13 and 14 year olds in it (for more on our California expansion, see "Coming to a State Near You" later in this newsletter).

But, here in the Puget Sound area, getting the word out has been hard. So, we'd like to ask you, our readers for some advice, especially those of you with pre-teen and/or teenage kids: how do you find out about enrichment or extracurricular programs available to your child? And, how do you best like to get this information?

Also, we appreciate that today's pre-teens and teens have a busy schedule, and that our classes may not be offered at ideal times that would permit broader participation. Can you suggest how or when we might offer these classes if you think schedule is a problem?

In exchange for information you might provide us, we'd like to offer you a 30% discount on a 'Tween or Teen SocialSmarts course. If you enroll and bring a friend or refer us to someone who joins as a result of your mention, we'll increase your discount to 50% as a show of appreciation for your referral.

We really want to offer the best resources to Teens and 'Tweens for developing excellent social skills and good manners, or improving specific areas of social interaction. These are concepts and skills that will last them a lifetime, as they progress to and through High School, the work world, colleges and universities and more. We value your input and continue to be grateful for your feedback and support.

With kind regards,

Corinne A. Gregory


 

 Question of the Month


The question this month comes to us via email from a mom of a 5-year old son:

How do I get my son to stop wanting my attention the minute I start a phone conversation? It seems like he always needs to talk to me just when I answer the phone and want to talk! It's driving me crazy!

I think this is one of the universal problems of parenthood. Why do "emergencies" only happen when someone is trying to talk to a long-lost friend via the telephone?

To overcome this problem, you'll need to start when you're not on the phone. Explain your specific expectations to your son such as "When Mommy is talking on the phone, I need you to play quietly by yourself until I'm done." This will not eliminate interruptions, but you've now explained the rules. Also, when the inevitable attention grab begins, use a signal to your child – such as one finger up for "one moment, please" – to let your child know that you acknowledge his need to talk to you, and you'll be with him in a minute. That allows you to finish either your sentence that you are speaking or for your caller to complete his or her thought before you say to them, "Excuse me, but Ryan needs me for a minute." Then, see what your son needs; if it's not urgent, explain calmly that "Mommy is on the phone right now talking to a friend. I'll help you with your puzzle as soon as I'm done." The key is "be calm" and "be consistent." Don't allow the interruptions to control your activity, but allow your son or daughter to know that they are allowed to interrupt you if it's truly urgent. With patience, practice, and consistent follow-through, you'll be able to tame the telephone nag.

Got a question? Send it to us and we will consider it for an upcoming Polite Press!

While we will try, we cannot guarantee that we will answer every question that is sent to us.

 The Challenges and Duties of a Playdate Host

It's probably happened to you before. Your young child, fairly new to the world of independent play dates, has just spent the last two hours reveling in LEGOS, army guys, and XBox with his new best friend. But now it's time to clean up and take the little guy home, so you gently deliver the news amid groans of "Already?" and, "But we're not done yet!" You coax the two pals along to start clearing away the rubble, then return to the kitchen to admire the three pages of scrap booking you were able to complete during the play date. Just as you're about to go check on the progress of the cleanup crew, your child stomps down the hall, indignant tears welling up in his eyes, and reports,

"Ryan won't help clean up!! It's not FAIR!" Your child throws his arms around you, seeking comfort from this grievous injustice, and trying to hold back the enemy tears so his friend won't discover he's still a bit of a crybaby.

What's a mother to do? You've taught your child how to be a well-mannered guest, and that one of the cardinal rules of visiting is to help clean up. But how do you handle it when his guest does not reciprocate? You could:

a) Gently but firmly tell the guest that in this house, everybody helps clean up, and that you expect him to put things away now
b) Explain to your child that, sadly, he'll just have to clean everything up on his own
c) Give your little trooper a hug, brush away the tears, and tell him, "Don't worry, Buddy. I'll help you clean up later."

The answer, for the mother of a PoliteChild, is "c."

You might be tempted to try "a," explaining to the young guest that he has to help your child clean up, but there are two important reasons to avoid this option. One, it could backfire. Suppose the child still refuses to help even after you say he must? Then you've either got a control battle on your hands, or you look like the world's biggest wimp. More importantly, though, issuing edicts is poor modeling for your child for how a proper host behaves. When you have your own guests over, you don't tell them they must help clean up. In fact, you likely decline their offers, saying, "No, no. Leave those dishes. Let's go into the living room for coffee." It's just as important to teach your child to be a good host as it is to teach him to be a good guest, and good hosts do not force their guests onto the clean-up crew.
Answer "b" might also be tempting, if you're trying to teach your child how the real world works. However, this lesson, that sometimes our guests are rude and that's the way it goes, is best saved for much later. A child who is not yet accustomed having company over to play should focus on learning how to let guests choose the activity, how to share, and how to take turns nicely. Having to also clean everything up all by himself is just too much at this age.

In this case, then, assuring your child that all is right with the world and that you will help him deal with the mess later is the best way to go—answer "c." You want the experience of play dates to be positive and you don't want to end the day on a sour note. Just cheerfully scoop the kids into the car and take the visiting child home. Later, when your little host and you are clearing away the debris, artfully weave in another manners lesson by asking your child how he felt as the host when his guest wouldn't help clean up. Explain that since he knows how it feels to have company like that, it will be easier for him to remember to help clean up when he himself is the guest. Show your child that the right thing to do is to put others first, whether we are the guest or the host, even if the other person doesn't follow suit. As long as he knows you're in his corner, he'll be able to handle his company with grace and good manners, and you can rest assured you're raising a PoliteChild.

 Making an Impact in our Community

At The PoliteChild, we find that it's so rewarding to learn that we are making a difference in the community, one child at a time. Read on for a true-life story that happened in Woodinville, WA just this past month, as told to us by Saara Stewart, one of our PoliteChild instructors:

A co-worker and I were working in the child care center in the local grocery store on Monday afternoon. While picking up the playroom and cleaning up the paints, she and I overheard some of the children's conversations. One girl, Rita*, was talking about some boys in her first grade class. Rita had the attention of all children at the coloring table, and she talked about how the boy in her class would "burp" and "toot" (but using more colorful language) during lunch and recess. She continued to tell the other children how hilarious it was when the boy did these things; furthermore, the boy completely ignored the teacher which, according to Rita, made it even funnier.

Nicholas, a kindergartner who often comes to the child care center, was playing nearby on the floor with some cars and was listening to the conversation. In a very serious tone, but still with respect for Rita, Nicholas said, "That isn't very good manners." My co-worker and I both stopped what we were doing and told Nicholas that he was correct, and that it's important to respect both our peers and our teachers.

We asked Nicholas where he learned to have such good manners, and he told us that he was taking a PoliteChild class at one of our member schools in our community! Both my co-worker and I commended Nicholas on his progress and I asked him what Magic Word we should use if we were ever to "burp" or "toot" in public. He immediately responded with, "Excuse me!"

This whole conversation was so reassuring for me, first for being in child care and seeing the display of excellent manners, which impacts how both other students and teachers view that child. And, second, of course, being a PoliteChild teacher myself, seeing the progress one of our students is making is always a wonderful experience!

* All names in the story have been changed to protect privacy.

 Coming to a State Near You?


Wow! We're not just in Washington anymore, Toto! As of February, The PoliteChild is a multi-state program, with offerings now in California, too.

On February 21st, we officially kicked-off our expansion program by starting classes at Sacred Heart Catholic School in Palm Desert, California. Our newly renamed "Social Smarts"course for Teens is being offered to all of Sacred Heart's 8th grade class! It's a first for us, not only for being an out-of-state offering, but it's our first Catholic School and it is the first time our Teen curriculum has been offered as part of the core academic program. We're very excited about this opportunity.

Starting March 12th, we also start classes for EarlyLearners and GradeSchoolers at Marywood Country Day School in Rancho Mirage. And, we've been talking to several more schools in the immediate area about our courses, so stay tuned for more news about this growing prospect.

The local paper in the Palm Desert/Palm Springs area, The Desert Sun, ran a feature story on The PoliteChild on Thursday, March 6th. For a look at the story, visit this link. We're pretty excited about this article, and this opportunity: the classes they refer to at Marywood Country Day School are essentially filled, and that was BEFORE the article ran. We hope this will lead to other opportunities with the schools we've already been talking to in the same general region.

We're also presently in conversations with individuals in the Bay Area, in the Los Angeles Metro Region, and in the San Fernando/San Gabriel Valley about brining PoliteChild to their communities. It's a very exciting time for us.

 Easier Ways to Register

If you've been a regular reader of our newsletter, you
’ll know that we are constantly striving to improve everything we do. That means we value your feedback on courses, solicit input on our messages, and ask for other ways that we can improve our processes.

Well, we've been hearing how our members wanted an easier way to register for courses, especially as the class options have become broader. And, we're happy to announce that we've made two major improvements in the last month: on-line registration and a credit card payment option! You can now not only view the complete schedule of classes on-line, but you can also sign-up for those courses that are not exclusively being handled by the hosting organization.

Our credit card processing is being handled through PayPal, a secure services provider. This way, all transactions are managed by their systems, which have been fully tested and certified as secure. We've had several new families use the on-line registration process already, and it has noticeably streamlined the process for them, and for us. But, please note: you can ALWAYS call us or Fax a registration form if you feel more comfortable doing that, or if you just want to discuss class options with a "live" person. We don't ever want technology to be viewed as a substitute for service!

 New Member Schools

Here are the new member schools we'd like to welcome since our last newsletter:

• Woodinville Montessori
• Sacred Heart Catholic School
• Marywood Country Day School
• Kokanee Elementary School PACE Program

See the entire list of member schools on the Member Schools page.

 Licensing Program

Over the past month or so, we've been contacted literally from the four corners of the country about bringing our PoliteChild program to other regions.

We're responded to this interest by creating a formal licensing program that allows individuals or groups to use our name, our curriculum, and our processes to start their own PoliteChild businesses in their regions. We believe this is the best way for us to grow and to spread our message, while still retaining the quality of that message and the effectiveness of our unique methods. You can find out more about our business opportunities, including the licensing program at http://www.politechild.com/company-opps.htm.

 Upcoming Events

It'll be another busy month for The PoliteChild staff! Here are some of our planned events in March.

Northwest Women's Show
Come see us at the Northwest Women's Show in Seattle, March 21-23 at the Stadium Exhibition Center! We'll have a booth there, and Corinne Gregory will be presenting her topic "Raising a Mannerly Child in an Unruly World" each day. We hear 24,000 women are likely to show up to this event – want to make it 24,001? Stop by and say hi! More information can be found at the Show's website at http://www.nwwomenshow.com/.

Jerry Wyckhoff Event at Meydenbauer Center
One of our member organizations, Chestnut Hill Academy, is bring parenting expert Jerry Wyckoff, Ph.D. to the Pacific Northwest. He is the author of several books, including one of our recommended titles, “20 Teachable Virtues”. Dr. Wyckoff will present “Endowing Your Children with Discipline and Character” on Wednesday, March 26, 2003 from 7-9 p.m. at the Meydenbauer Center, Bellevue. The event is sponsored by the Chestnut Hill Academy parent/teacher organization, C.H.A.P.T.E.R. Admission reservations are available for $15 at (425) 576-1212. We've been invited by Chestnut Hill Academy to be there for the event, with an exhibit area directly adjacent to their book sales booth. Come hear Dr. Wyckoff's inspiring message, and come visit us and see how we're teaching those virtues working hard to build strong character and excellent social skills in our children.

Parent Information Nights
In February, we started offering Parent's Information Nights through our member organizations. These “Info Nights,” as we call them, are opportunities for parents to come hear the message about “The Importance and Challenges of Raising a Mannerly Child” and also offers their children a free introductory “PoliteChild” course at the same time. This is a great chance for people to see how the PoliteChild program works, ask questions they may have, and “kick the tires,” so to speak, before they sign up. And, since we’re also providing the manners class for the children, parents don’t need to worry about childcare while they attend the presentation.

Our last Info Night was at Sammamish Montessori in Redmond, and was well attended by adults as well as children. Our next Info Night will be held at Brighton School on Tuesday, March 11th at 7:00pm. Other Info Nights will be held at several other member organizations, and we're expanding the offerings by including several libraries. We regret to say that Info Nights at public libraries will not be able to accommodate the children's course, due to limitations of library space and facilities. For details and our complete schedule see Parent Information Nights.

If you're interested in having us conduct an Info Night at your school, church, or other organization, please call us at 425.844.9711. There is no charge for either the parents' presentation or the children's manners class.

 
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