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Posts Tagged ‘Manners’

Five Ways to Encourage Good Manners

Learning to be polite and respectful is just as important as learning any other life skill. Here are five ways to encourage good manners in children.

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  1. Be a good example. Children imitate what they see and hear, so if you are polite and respectful to others, there is a good chance that your child will be, too.
  2. Role play with your child. For example, ask her to pretend she’s at a restaurant. Then ask her what she would do if she needs somebody to pass the salt or what she would do if the server asks her what she wants to order.
  3. Enlist help from other family members. If you are comfortable with it, let other family members know that it is okay for them to encourage your child to use good manners. Or, say, if a grandparent burps, gently remind the grandparent that he or she should say “Excuse me.”
  4. Begin teaching manners early. Even if your child is a toddler, it is never too early to start teaching manners. After all, if a child is encouraged from day one to say please and thank you, it becomes a regular part of his everyday life.
  5. Correct mistakes politely. Your child is bound to make mistakes, and it is perfectly fine for you to correct her. Just be sure to do it calmly and politely.

Positive Alternatives to “No”

Children should begin to learn to respect limits from a young age. Most boundaries for children are set for health and safety reasons and are a very important and necessary developmental tool. Children are corrected every day, which can lead them to simply “tune out” any perceived negativity or become uncooperative. Regardless of their age, most people respond better to positively communicated direction. This is especially true for children. For example, “Grandma is worried about us getting stains on her couch. Let’s enjoy our snack in her kitchen instead,” will generate more cooperation than “No food or drinks in Grandma’s living room.”

Try telling your child what they can do instead of what they can’t. Practice the positive alternatives below to avoid overusing the word “no” while maintaining reasonable limits.

  • “Maybe later” can work to delay a request such as snacks or sweets before mealtime.
  • “Not today” communicates that the timing is wrong but leaves the possibility open.
  • “When we’ve done (this), then we can do (that).” This method is good for transition times and to help toddlers establish event routines. For example, “When all of your toys are put away, we can go play at the park.”
  • “I’ll think about it” replaces an automatic “no” by allowing yourself the time to think about your determination. Parents tend to make better decisions when they take the time to think about the request and their response.
  • “Sure, did you bring your allowance?” This technique allows you to communicate that they may have the requested item if they can pay for it themselves.
  • “Yes (with qualifier).” This strategy grants conditional permission. For example, “Yes, you may play the game after we eat dinner.”

Encouraging Good Table Manners

With holiday meals soon to be in full swing, our younger diners may benefit from these simple tips for minding their manners when dining with others.

  • If the meal is not buffet style, wait until everyone has been seated and has their food before beginning to eat.
  • Place your napkin in your lap before beginning to eat and use it to dab your mouth, when necessary.
  • If you have to blow your nose or pick your teeth, excuse yourself to go to another room or restroom.
  • Always say “excuse me” should you burp.
  • If you don’t think you like something that is being served, try a bit and then move on to the rest of the food on your plate.
  • Always eat with utensils unless the food is meant to be eaten with fingers.
  • Do not put your elbows on the table. (This rule is okay to break if you’re not actually eating.)
  • Chew with your mouth closed and do not talk with your mouth full.
  • Always say “thank you” when you are served.
  • Politely ask that items out of reach be passed to you. Do not reach over other people’s plates.
  • Eat slowly.