Nearly anyone will agree that being a parent means being busy. Often, we are satisfied by simply getting our child to listen to our requests (i.e. “eat your vegetables.”). We all know that mere compliance can sometimes be a monumental task; however, it is important to work with your child so that his or her behavior complies with social norms and etiquette. When a child communicates effectively as well as courteously, he or she will be treated with equal courtesy!
Here are some tips in working with your child to instill good manners:
- Lead by example: The old-age “monkey see, monkey do” could not be more applicable! If you want your child to practice good manners, practice them yourself as well!
- Start Simple: Emphasizing a need to say please and thank you at appropriate times is the foundation of good manners.
- Be Consistent: When your child fails to employ good manners, remind them to do so. It is important for your child to realize that employing good manners is a full-time job, whether at school, home or with their friends. It is important to keep in mind that manners are a learned behavior and must be practiced. With that being said, reminders should be positive rather than negative.
- Table Manners Count!: Good manners are extremely apparent during mealtimes. The dinner table is an excellent place to practice good manners. This is also a perfect environment to lead by example. Involve your child by asking them to “please pass” food items and praise them for showing good manners.
- Be Patient: As noted above, manners do not come naturally and require practice. Do not expect your child to master proper social behavior overnight. Patient, positive reminders tend to work better than scolding.
- Set Goals: Choose one behavior to master at a time. For example, work on how to answer the phone courteously. Once your child is able to do so consistently, choose another goal to work on. As a result, your expectations are reasonable and you will be able to track their progress!
Both you and your little one will benefit when good manners are the norm! Teachers and fellow parents will have easier and more enjoyable conversations with your child (and you will too!). Good manners are a stepping stone to forming good relationships! Good Luck!