Recently I was asked what the best parenting advice I had ever heard was and I immediately blurted out “knock on your kid’s door starting at birth.” I didn’t hear this little gem of advice until I had a 3 year old, a 15 month old, and was 5 months pregnant with the wonder twins. It wasn’t even given to me as advice, but man did it scream at me when it was mentioned during a conversation about morning routines with a friend of mine.
My friend told me how her daughter would knock on her door or wall every morning to let her know she was awake and wanted to get ready. How cute….and how respectful! My daughter waltzed around wherever and whenever she wanted to. I needed to know what secret my super genius parent of a friend was using, but it wasn’t a secret…it was basic manners, and had been done since her daughter’s birth, always knocking on her door before going in. I felt so terrible, I didn’t start knocking until my daughter was about 2 and a half and my husband and I were fed up with having a human hound dog trail us everywhere we went with zero concern as to what was happening….bathroom, shower, and all other things that you want privacy for. We had given her such a bad example of respecting privacy. It wasn’t intentional, but it definitely set a precedent for her behavior. It took a LONG time to get consistent knocking instilled with her, less time with her younger brother. We started knocking with him the same day my friend and I had talked.
I am so grateful that my children knock. Starting this habit at birth with the wonder twins was so much smoother than teaching privacy later on like we did with the older two kids. The twins have always given and expected privacy without needing a lot of discussion about it. There are surprises sometimes, but when asked for privacy they always step out of the room and wait until the timing is appropriate.