Meet Alyson Kenny, Founder of Lowcountry Manners - Charleston Moms Network

Meet a Mom: Meet Alyson Kenny, Founder of Lowcountry Manners, mom of 2 beautiful girls, wife, and a native of Charleston for almost 30 years! Alyson has been teaching manners, mindfulness and etiquette for the past 10 years to children in Kindergarten through 4th grade, as well as tweens and middle school students, and she is also a published author of 4 children’s books. Her etiquette classes for kids are welcoming, fun, and teach valuable skills they will remember for the rest of their life. Read more below about Alyson, her background, life as a working mom, and her top three favorite pieces of advice to share with parents who are raising young children to help with their manners and mindfulness.


Where are you originally from and how long have you been in Charleston, SC?

I’ve lived in Charleston since 1994. I actually currently live on the same street that I grew up on, three houses down from my childhood home.


Tell us about your family

I married my husband in June 2019 and we have two beautiful girls, Murphy (3) and Evelyn (1). We also have two golden retrievers.


One thing people would be surprised to know about you?

I didn’t follow a lot of traditional wedding etiquette when I was planning my own wedding. One of the things I felt strongly against was a traditional bachelorette party. After a certain age I felt like they felt slightly forced and awkward. Instead, my dad insisted on planning us a “da-chelorette” weekend and planned an entire weekend of fly fishing, hiking, white water rafter and boating around Cashiers, NC. We had the best weekend and while on our rafting trip ended up being grouped together with a bachelor party who felt so inspired they all promised they would recreate the trip with their own daughters one day. The trip actually took place 5 years ago today!



What’s your favorite thing about raising a family in Charleston?

The ability to be outdoors for most of the year. We spend almost every Sunday evening on Sullivans from May – September.


Tell us about your business, Lowcountry Manners , and when & why you decided to start this business.

I started this business ten years ago (originally Murphy’s Manners) after getting certified in a trainer type program at The Charleston School of Protocol. I was originally just interested in taking a class for personal reasons as I never went to cotillion growing up and felt like I wanted to polish my personal and professional soft skills. But I was so interested in the material that I decided to keep learning more which took me to NYC for an internship at The Etiquette School of New York. When I felt ready to move home, I was able to take everything I had learned and create a more modern approach to manners which I taught for many years in the CCSD after school programs. I taught these classes up until the day schools shut down due to covid. Now I rent out my own spaces to teach, but hope to slowly start going back into the schools once my girls are a little older.


Why do you think it is so important to bridge the gap between the rules of etiquette and the principles they are founded on?

Because the rules will continue to evolve and change over time, but the principles that these rules are founded on such as kindness, empathy, compassion will remain timeless.


What are your top three favorite pieces of advice to share with parents who are raising young children to help with their manners and mindfulness?

I love quotes so here are three of my favorite quotes and how I think they can help parents who want to raise their children with manners and mindfulness.

“The most powerful tool for influencing behavior is the relationship we build with our kids” -Casey O’Roarty.  I think the most important thing we can do as parents when trying to influence positive behavior is to model positive behavior. For example, if you don’t want your child to hit others to get what they want, avoid any type of physical punishments to get what you want. How ever we treat our children will be directly reflected in the way they treat their friends, siblings and themselves.

“Manners are a sensitive awareness of the feelings of others. If you have that awareness, you have good manners, no matter what fork you use.” -Emily Post.  I think skills like empathy and the ability to read a room are so much more valuable than knowing how to properly set a table.

“Either we spend the time meeting children’s emotional needs by filling up their cup with love, or we spend time dealing with the behaviors cause from the unmet needs. Either way we spend the time” -Pam Leo. This quote has really made a big impact on the way I parent. One way I’ve tried to better meet my children emotional needs is to better understand their love languages and find ways to speak that language to them every day. Our youngest child’s love language is physical touch so my husband wrestles with her before bed and I rock her to sleep. I deeply believe letting a baby CIO who’s love language is physical touch could cause bigger feelings and emotions as the child turn into a toddler and even teen. Our oldest daughters love language is quality time so we make sure to schedule one-on-one time that includes things like going to the grocery store or painting or walking the beach.


What type of classes do you offer for children in Pre-K through University age levels?

I run a six week interactive program in the fall and in the spring titled “Manners and Mindfulness” for K-4th graders. I also have a one time two-hour program for tweens and middle school students titled “Manners in our Modern World” that I teach a few times a year.  Read more about my classes here.


You are also a published Author of ‘The Manners Contract’, ‘The Manatee Who Finds Mindfulness’ and ‘The Elephant Who Finds Empathy’.  What inspired you to write these books?

I was in the 4th grade a Belle Hall Elementary when an author came for a school reading. I told my 4th grade teacher I wanted to be an author too, so she picked me to have a special lunch with the guest author and gave me my first journal. Fast forward 20 years later and I was needing more material for my manners classes so decided to start writing my own children books about manners and mindfulness. One of the absolute best part about being an author is the school readings and I actually had an opportunity to read at Belle Hall a few years ago and share this story with the students and thank my fourth grade teacher in person for inspiring me all those years ago.


You have some incredible content on Social Media with @chasingcivility.  What brings you your inspiration behind your content and why do you think it resonates with parents with such emotional engagement?

Thank you! I took huge step back in teaching once I became a mom, so at first social media was an outlet to be able to continue feel creative. I think it resonated with parents because I’ve tried to share topics that can really make us all feel more confident and connected.


Tell us more about your work/life balance within motherhood.

Balancing work, life and family has been very challenging since become a mom and something I am activity working on and trying to get better at. My husband and I realized we had only been out to dinner once last year so made a goal for 2024 to get a sitter once a month to go out for lunch or dinner. I just had a really big school offer me an after school teaching position for the fall that I decided to turn down because my girls are not yet in school and don’t attend daycare. One book that helped me prioritize some of these things was “Being There: Why Prioritizing Motherhood in Fist Three Years Matters” by Erica Komisar.


Who has most influenced you to be the mom that you are today?

My Mom and my Mother-in-law. My mom recently retired after working as a nursery nurse at East Cooper for 26 years and my mother-in-law recently retired after 34 years as an art professor at Coastal Carolina. Their ability to navigate both life long careers and family is something I deeply admire and look up to. I also nannied for some incredible families before becoming a mom that have impacted who I am today.


What advice would you share with a new mom or other moms?

You can have the upmost respect, appreciation and gratitude for your parents and how your parents raised you and still choose to raise your own children differently. Breaking cycles and even starting new traditions is good thing. Always listen to your intuition.



We love supporting local businesses – favorite places in Charleston to…

Have Dinner with Family: Mex1
Grab a Drink with Friends: Home Team BBQ
Have a Date Night: Halls
Spend time together as a Family: SC Aquarium
Outside Activities: Palmetto Park
Grab coffee: I don’t drink coffee or tea

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