With the “No Kidding With Our Kids” foundation
One of the most important jobs we have as parents is to help our children develop social skills. We need to show them how to interact in a polite manner with people, and teach them to treat others with respect.
Whether the occasion is a holiday gathering, a family meal, or a simple trip to the grocery store, parents can use these social opportunities to instil good manners in their children that will become a habitual part of their lives into adolescence and beyond. Here are some great ways parents can teach their children good manners.
Key manners to teach your children:
Stick with the basics.
It takes time for children to learn to say “please” and “thank you”. Encourage your children to say these words as a first step toward politeness and move on from there.
Practice what you preach.
As you probably know by now, children are always watching, listening, and learning from us – especially when we least expect it. The best way to encourage your children to behave nicely is to model good manners yourself. Say “please” and “thank you”, hold doors for others, refrain from interrupting, and exhibit whatever other behaviours you’d like your children to emulate.
Accentuate the positive.
Rather than scolding when your children forget their manners, pour on the praise when they are behaving appropriately. Tell them that they seem so grown up when they say “please” and “thank you” and that people appreciate it. While it’s disappointing when our children are rude to others, blowing up about it could cause them to resist our efforts to teach them considerate behaviour. You want your children to exert their independence by showing off good manners – not by refusing to use them.
Get your children into the habit of waiting their turn to speak.
A lot of children, especially younger children, have trouble with waiting their turn to speak. That’s because children often want to express their thoughts as soon as something occurs to them. Children are also naturally self-centred and may need reminders to wait until someone has finished speaking before interrupting. To help children learn this habit, parents can try using a visual reminder, such as a stuffed animal or a talking stick. To teach children how to wait for their turn to speak, simply have each one talk only when it’s their turn to hold the talking stick.
Instil good table manners in your children.
No matter whether it’s a big holiday meal with family or an ordinary dinner during the week, children should have a good handle on basic table manners. Basic good manners, such as not chewing with one’s mouth full or waiting to eat until everyone has been served, can be followed by even the youngest of grade-schoolers. And as children become older, they can help set and clear the table and carry on a pleasant dinner conversation.
Finally, be consistent.
As soon as your child is used to saying “please” and “thank you” at home, make that your expectation in public, too. Children like consistency, and a rule that applies only to certain situations will be confusing and become difficult to enforce.