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Chivvy by Michael Rosen

Grown-ups say things like:
Speak up
Don’t talk with your mouth full
Don’t stare
Don’t point
Don’t pick your nose

Sit up
Say please
Less noise
Shut the door behind you
Don’t drag your feet
Haven’t you got a hankie?
Take your hands out of
your pockets

Pull your socks up
Stand up straight
Say thank you
Don’t interrupt
No one thinks you’re funny
Take your elbows off the table

Can’t you make your own
mind up about anything?


‘Chivvy’ means urging someone continuously to do something. Generally grown-ups have the habit to keep telling children what to do or what not to do, so that they can learn good manners.

They would tell the child to speak up, not to speak when there is food in their mouth. They tell children not to stare at others or point fingers at them. They even tell them not to pick i.e., clean their nose.

The children are also told to sit straight and say please. They are even told to be less noisy and shut the door when they leave the room. The grown ups tell the children not to drag their feet and keep a hanky with them. They tell children to keep their hands out of their pockets.

The grown ups tell the children to pull up their socks and to stand up straight. They tell the children to say thank you and not to interrupt when others are speaking. They tell children not to keep their elbows on the table.

They teach children how to behave in a cultured manner yet at the same time they want them to learn to think independently.

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