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Manners Really Matter for Kids!

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Here are four simple ways to teach kids how to behave:

Tip Number 1: Make a list

Sit down with your child and make a list of some behaviors that people who are polite show to others:
Say please and thank you
Eat with their mouths closed
Burp in the privacy of their own rooms
Say excuse me
Hold doors open for others
Ask if someone is okay if they see them get hurt in some way

Tip Number 2: Model these manners
Children learn better from our actions and what we do than from our words and what we say.

Tip Number 3: Provide children what they want only when they use their manners

When parents use this concept, they do not have to repeat themselves over and over again about using good manners. They simply refuse to provide their children with what they want unless they hear a very polite “please” or “thank you” and see other positive manners that are appropriate. For this to really work, it is important for parents to respond to their children with sadness in their voice instead of anger, disappointment, or frustration. For example, a parent might say, this makes me really sad that we have to change our fun plans to the aquarium today because you have to practice your manners first. This parent, who sticks to his word and sets limits, avoids anger, and stays home will see a very unhappy child in the short-term and a very happy, more responsible child in the long-term.

Tip Number 4: Expect your child to demonstrate his or her understanding to you for any embarrassment he or she may have caused due to a specific behavior

If your child speaks rudely, he may need to demonstrate to you that he understands that is not okay and not appropriate. In a genuine empathetic manner, a parent may say, I was very disappointed with your behavior at grandma’s house today. Many parents have changed their terribly mannered child into a polite child who is fun to be with. It is the communication that is so important to have with your children, so really sit down and explain to them the reasons that their behavior was inappropriate and how it made you feel sad.

Source: itsamomsworld. (2010).

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