Tag Archives: Manners

Manners: What’s Important to You as a Parent?

As parents we have our make or break topics. One of mine is manners. My kid doesn’t have to be the smartest in their class, they don’t have to be the best player on their team, but by golly they better have the best manners wherever they go.

I try to model good behavior. I say please, thank you, you’re welcome, etc. I smile when I speak to someone. I try not to be mean to customer service people, and if I see someone in need of help (a door that could be opened, a hand that can be offered, I do my best). I want my children to do the same. The world is such a large and busy place, but with just a smile, and a little politeness it doesn’t seem quite so frightening. Now I am not expecting my children to help a stranger, they know there are limits because of safety. However, when they see a teacher at school struggling with their books opening the classroom door, or a fellow student unable to zip their backpack, I have noticed them helping. What warms my heart the most? When they help their siblings, without being prompted.

So what is so great about manners? They aren’t much when you think in the grand scheme of things. But we have all seen those commercials where one small good deed sets of a string of good deeds, that can eventually change someone’s entire day, or their entire life. It is the small things that make the big things happen. So I try very hard to incorporate manners in to my life, and my children’s lives.

Manners are simple little things to add in to our daily lives, so take a look at some of the ways manners are described by KidsTime. Do you have any manners you and your family practice that you think should be added? 

Books That Teach: Toddlers and Manners

Toddlers learn by example. There is a reason that the saying, “monkey see, monkey do!” is so popular amongst parents of toddlers. They literally watch everything we do, all day long. Every day we show them how to act in public. When you thank the barista at the drive thru window, when you interact with the cashier at the supermarket. It is all one big lesson in manners. Recently I was trying to load groceries in to my cart at the store. There was no bagger, and halfway through the bagging/loading process a young teenage boy showed up. He very kindly began bagging and loading my cart for me. I was distracted. My 5 month old was crying in my arms, the cashier was asking for me to press ok, and my 4 year old was in the cart watching everything. Suddenly I heard, “Thank you for helping my mommy.” I stopped. My daughter has noticed the boy helping, and thanked him. Without being prompted, without me even noticing.  I was proud, dumbfounded, and relieved. I hadn’t even noticed him, but my daughter did, and knew exactly what to say to him.

I make sure to take the time to show her this behavior, when I remember to. But I admit, there are days I am so busy it doesn’t always happen. I credit my good behavior on most interactions, and the books I read with her. Books like The Thank You Book (An Elephant and Piggie Book). We read this series occasionally at bedtime. I never stopped to think how important they were. She thinks they are cute little books. It stars a pig and an elephant, it just drips cuteness. But it truly models the interactions we want our kids to use, and it does so in a cute, slightly cheesy, but understandable way. I love this book. It is helping me to achieve one of my most coveted goals; polite children.

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A Well-Mannered Child

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!