Manners Monday: No Feet on Furniture
I sort of can’t believe that I’m writing this post because “5 Little Monkeys” was my absolute favorite song as a kid and I took it to heart in the most wrong way. I LOVED jumping on the bed. And, to this day, I sort of don’t think there’s anything wrong with jumping on your own bed. My little one recently discovered the joys of doing cannonballs and belly flops and insists on reinacting them on our bed about 100 times a day. So, I’m not saying that you can’t jump on your own beds. That’s up to you. But! For Manners Monday this week we’ll be practicing and teaching our kids to not put their feet on furniture whether at home or away. It’s just plain common courtesy, not to mention clean.
Feet are pretty gross. Sorry foot fetish-ers. And, shoes are even more gross. Sorry, shoe fetish-ers. This is especially true if you’re living in an urban environment or an exceptionally wet, dry or dirty place. Let’s be honest shoes and feet track in all sort of disgustingness.
This week, I don’t care if you wear shoes in the house but I do care about your furniture and the furniture of your friends, family and community. Furniture is expensive, sometimes priceless, sometimes heirloom, sometimes crap from IKEA. But, no matter what it is, it’s all you (or they) have and it should be respected. Furniture is where we put things that we will hold in our hands from food to drinks to books to remote controls to whatever. We don’t want the sludge from the street and the bathroom floor mingling with what we touch. Furniture is also delicate. It chips, stains, cracks and gets damaged easily. We don’t want to be kicking around on it with yucky, clumsy feet. Arab culture believes that the bottom of a shoe and the bottom of a foot are the same as “dirt” and they are extremely offensive because of that. So, next time you want prop your feet up on Grandma’s coffee table imagine a big pile of disgusting sewage-laden dirt falling all over the top of it and you might think twice. In fact…read on for fun ways to put this in to practice.
This week’s rule
Don’t put feet on the furniture, please
Put it into practice
Toddlers 1 – 3 years old: I sort of feel like this is easiest nipped in the bud from the earliest days. You know that if you get a pet and let it up on the furniture even just one time, that you’ll have an uphill battle ahead of you trying to keep it off of the furniture for the rest of its precious little life. Maybe you don’t mind your dog on the couch but letting your dog on someone else’s couch is never acceptable unless they insist that it is after many “I could never”s and “That wouldn’t be right”s on your part. So, with toddlers you might be too late for an easy ride. But, the sooner the better! Generally the littlest ones just want to jump on the couch or climb onto the restaurant table or up a bookcase. Firmly and seriously remove them from the furniture and point at the furniture while you say, “You do not climb or jump on furniture, it is not a toy.” Stay calm, cool and collected. Don’t make a show out of it because some kids get off on stirring up their parents and will do it again just to see you flip out. Jerks. You will feel like a broken record, you may need to resort to a time out (if you do them) or a “holding” where you hold them still for a bit if your little monkey is not getting it. But, it will take time and they will find new pieces of furniture to climb on. They’re just testing limits. Stay strong and set your boundaries now so that they don’t seriously hurt themselves by climbing a wobbly book case at a friend’s house and toppling it all over on top of them.
Kids 3 – 9 years old:
This age is more fun. Everything can be a game (see a trend?) and should be! That’s how things get set in stone without a negative impression. If you can make up a song that goes with it, you’re golden! As always, you can make a game out of catching each other doing it RIGHT. First, talk through how gross it is to put feet on furniture. I mean really yuck it up to the point that it’s kind of funny but still really gross. Then explain that it is courteous to respect furniture wherever you are by not putting your gross feet on it. Challenge your family to catch each other when their feet are NOT on any furniture, but could be. i.e. sitting on the sofa, standing on a booth at restaurant, sitting in a waiting room, sitting in any chair where you could be resting your feet on the chair legs, you get the point. Make up a sound that you can do when you see it. A “bravo!” with a thumb up, or a happy dance, or a simple “thank you for not putting your feet on the furniture” will help make it more fun and feel more official.
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