Parents: Teach Your Child Manners

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Ideas for Parents Teaching Manners

By teaching your child manners you are enabling him to interact positively with those around him. Teaching a child good manners will help him be liked and respected by adults as well as his peers, which will give him more confidence, setting up a positive spiral.

Children should learn that good manners means more than just following protocols like which cutlery to use, and more even than using the right words. “Please” and “thank you” mean so much more when they are said with genuine feeling.

Here are some ideas to help you help your child practice good manners:

Table manners– set a good example, because your children will for the most part unconsciously pick up table manners from their parents. For extra fun – and polish! – schedule special dinners for the whole family where everyone dresses up and practices his or her best manners. It’s just a game – but as we know the best learning takes place when children are enjoying themselves.

Thank you notes- have a special drawer with note cards, writing paper, nice pens and envelopes to make it easy for your child to write prompt thank you notes after receiving a gift or when someone has done something nice for them. Even in this age of electronic communication, everyone loves getting a personal, thoughtful hand written note.

Thetone of voice we use is just as important as which words we say. To get this idea across, you could ask your child to say the same sentence in various tones of voice. For example, you could ask him to say, “I want some juice,” in a demanding tone, a bossy tone, a pleasant tone and a whining tone. If you record this into a tape recorder, and play it back to him, it will help him learn how to speak pleasantly without whining or sounds bossy. Again – make it a game, and take part yourself, too – so that the learning takes place in a fun environment.

Remember to be polite TO your child. If we forget to say Please and Thank you when we want our children to do something for us, how can we expect them to remember when they want something?

Phone manners– once your child is getting close to the age of being old enough to answer the phone, why not play games that help her understand how to talk politely on the phone? Simple phrases like “Who would you like to talk to?” and “Just a minute please,” will make the caller feel comfortable – not to mention impressed with your polite child!

The influence of TV and movies– It can be a real shock to hear our child repeat something rude, especially if we know we don’t use that word in our household. We need to be aware that if they are allowed to watch TV and movies, children will pick up new vocabulary. To minimize the damage to our children’s manners, it’s a good idea to have a simple discussion about the fact that movies are for entertainment and don’t represent real life. Once this is repeated a few times, the child should be able to appreciate that just because he’s heard something on TV it is not necessarily OK to use it at home. You may have to remind him of this fairly often, but it is well worth the effort. Always remember to scold the behavior and not the child! Never tell your child he has been rude, but say that the word or behavior was rude.

Finally, as with any other behavior we want to encourage in our children, we must remember to praise as often as possible! To encourage good manners for your child, tell her how proud you are of her when she is polite and helpful, tell her repeatedly how much you appreciate her good manners, and she will want to be that way more and more often.


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