Good manners are not usually something you hear about in relation to children. My kids are known for their “friendly” scowl and nonexistent polite words. With every nose pick, sneeze in face, and lack of shown gratitude I feel a deep sense of failure. We decided to make that a priority and found some easy ways to teach manners that have actually worked.
Tell Good Stories
There are unlimited books on manners that give examples of children with bad manners and then children with good manners and why it matters. One of our favorites is “Manners” by Aliki. It is funny and cute and has been easy for my kids to remember throughout their day.
We are also big on rhymes. My kids memorize rhymes easily and the book “Monster Manners” by Bethany Roberts is one they can recite back to me because they love it so much.
We also tell a lot of made up stories usually involving a situation from our day where we could have used better manners. So far this has been extremely effective for my toddlers.
Lead by example
We have been trying to eat meals together as a family at least once a day and that provides the perfect opportunity to show my children proper manners at the table. I make a point to demonstrate what is appropriate and give lots of praise as they remember and copy good manners. It is more difficult for them to notice my manners throughout the day but I try to include them in any process where I am thanking others or asking for permission. Their dad is really good at saying please to our children when he needs their cooperation. They not only enjoyed being asked politely but seemed to not mind helping as much either.
Of course my kids most enjoy our reward system. We have a manners chart with each child’s name on a row. Every time they are caught using good manners they are rewarded with a sticker for their row. At the end of every week they receive a small prize for every set of ten stickers they have earned. This has by far been the biggest motivator and has also allowed the kids to notice and praise each other for good manners.
Children will never be perfect little polite robots but they can be civilized human beings. Hopefully these suggestions will be just what your family needs to experience a few less badly timed toots and belches!! Good Luck!
Grace was born and brought up in Bessemer, Alabama but has a great love for exploring new places. She has been married for 8 years and has 3 kids, expecting number 4 in December. Having been a student off and on for the last 10 years she is excited to say that she is finally graduating from BYU-Idaho with a degree in Marriage and Family Counseling this year. She loves to learn and share what she learns with as many people as possible. Strengthening and encouraging positive relationships with couples and families is a life goal and passion. Her biggest hobby is her family and finding new and fun ways to accomplish the above life goal in her home.