We live in a world of gadgets, Facebook, twitter, and email. A world where if you need to get in touch with someone you send a quick text or short email, usually without a salutation, correct grammar, or even in full sentences. We ask questions in a way that makes them appear to be a statement, and we very rarely hear those important words, please, thank you, and you’re welcome. As adults we have become quite lazy in our more laid back world. Because of the way the world has changed we just go right along in our lives without really doing much extra, we mostly just try to get by. While some have managed to continue to use the manners and etiquette they were taught as children these pleasantries have mostly gone by the wayside, and our children are the ones suffering.
So many of today’s children just expect to get the things they want. They have not known a world other than the way we live now where everything is easily available and communications happen faster than the blink of an eye. So it isn’t much of a surprise that they haven’t picked up on pleasantries and manners, they haven’t seen much of them in action. That is why we need to do more to help our children learn or remember the importance of “please” and “thank you.”
What are some easy ways to get your kids attention and start teaching them these things? The most important thing to do is change your own behavior. Remember that saying “monkey see monkey do.” Recently in our home we have been prompting our daughter to say please or thank you when she asks for something. Our biggest problem is she is only 18 months. She doesn’t learn by being told to do something, she learns by example. So we knew that even though we sometimes used those important words it was important that we begin using them all the time, and respond politely to each other when we need help around the house. So now at our house you can hear the P and T words all day long. It was slow going at first, but now our daughter asks please whenever she wants something. Practice makes perfect.
So if you are looking to teach your child about manners you can try a few of these tried and true tips:
Model good manners- say please and thank you when you need or want something no matter where you are or who you are addressing. Don’t interrupt when otherwise are taking. Listen when someone is talking or asking you something.
Make thankfulness a part of your routine- when someone in your household has a birthday, wedding, party, or even just has a good friend do them a favor be sure to thank them. Thank you cards are an excellent way to thank someone. And children can get in on the card making.
Appreciate what you have: Talk with your kids about appreciating the good things in life. Share with them that not everyone is as fortunate as we are. And help them to make a difference in the world by volunteering somewhere or donating clothes or toys.
It may be slow going at first but the little things matter. So when you see your kids forgetting to say please or thank you remind them. A simple prompt works wonders. As you and your is start following these simple tips you will find that everyone’s manners are improving!