Teach good manners

Attend any event where children are present and one will quickly learn that the idea of using manners is almost nonexistent. At the age of 2, my daughter knew how to say, “please,” “thank you” and “excuse me.” We made up our mind when she was born that our children would not be demanding or bossy, but thoughtful and kind…always!

Teaching children manners teaches them to be aware of other people’s feelings and how their behavior affects others.

Here is what we know (www.parents.com):

Good manners are a good habit. Start as early as you can so manners become automatic. Manners are important, no matter the time or location. Remember that a child’s speech is often modeled after parents and caregivers

Help your child’s social development. Kids who aren’t taught to be polite from an early age are often a turn-off to adults and kids alike.

It’s a continual process. Introducing one new social skill a month — teaching your 2-year-old to say “hello” when another person addresses him, for example, and rewarding him with praise when he does so — makes the process manageable for everyone.

Model behavior. Simply put, use ‘please’ and ‘thank you’ at the appropriate time, so your child will too. This includes omitting negative gestures and attitudes as well.

Consistency is important. Acquiring good manners takes lots of practice and reinforcement, so make sure that you, your partner and your caregiver are encouraging (and discouraging) the same behaviors.

Four basic manners every child needs to learn

Table talk: During toddlerhood, offer your child his food on a small, no-break plate; encourage him to use his utensils; discourage him from throwing food by telling him, “We don’t throw food on the floor. If you don’t want any more, please say ‘no thank you.'”

Please and thank you: If your child hasn’t gotten into the habit, gently prompt him by saying, “What do we say after we get a gift?” or “What do we say when someone gives us a treat?”

Share and share alike: Encourage your toddler to share with his friends on play dates by giving him two similar toys and helping him offer one to his friend.

Say sorry: When your child snatches a toy from a playmate, discourage the behavior and play on his empathy: “We don’t hit; hitting hurts.” Then, prompt him to apologize: “When we hurt someone, we say, ‘I’m sorry.'”

Lastly, here is a cute little to practice at home, in schools or in child care settings.

We say, “Thank you.”

We say, “Please.”

We don’t interrupt or tease.

We don’t argue. We don’t fuss.

We listen when folks talk to us.

We share our toys and take our turn.

Good manners aren’t too hard to learn.

It’s really easy when you find.

Good manners means just be kind!

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Carrie Kube is a Director for the Iowa River Valley Early Childhood Area Board. All thoughts and opinions

expressed are that of the author and not the Board

and/or its community partners.