Friday, May 20, 2011

Teaching Your Child Good Manners

Children must be taught how to properly behave in different social settings so they can be successful throughout life. Age two to five is the best time to teach manners because children are open to learning how to behave, and have not already developed bad habits. When children have models of good manners to pattern themselves after, they are much more likely to adopt good manners themselves.

Steps to Good Table Manners (Dr. Alex Packer, psychologist and the author)
1.Look for the good. Instead of pointing out all the things your child does wrong, point out what she does right.
2. Don't turn dinner into an unpleasant "lecture time." That will turn kids off not only to manners, but to dinner, and to you, too.
3. Check your own example.
4. Don't label your child as a slob. Instead, point out the behavior in a neutral, practical way. For example: "It's a good idea to unfold your napkin so if food falls you won't stain your clothes."
5. Approach manners as a game. Try having a somewhat more formal dinner. Try dressing up, serve a special meal, and expect more formal manners. That will help improve your kids' social graces.
6. Try dining out once in a while.

How to Teach Children Manners and Etiquette
Children learn manners by observing adults around them, so it is important for parents to model good behavior.

1. Set an example of the manners you expect. The most effective method for teaching your children good manners is your daily example. Demonstrate good manners in a variety of settings. For example, make sure to thank the cashier at the supermarket and say "please" when ordering at a restaurant.
2. Teach your child manners in stages, as his comprehension and skills develop. Start using words and phrases like 'please,' 'thank you,' 'excuse me,' 'I'm sorry,' and 'may I?' as early as possible around your child. Encourage your child to do the same.
3. Be aware of the language you use in front of your children; they mimic the way adults speak.
4. Require that your children address elders with titles. Children should use "Mr.," "Mrs." and "Ms." when addressing elders.
5. Teach your children how to behave properly in public. Review the basics of etiquette with your child whenever necessary. He should learn how to shake hands, show respect for older people, behave
quietly in public places, and avoid interrupting other people in conversation, how to respect other people's property, etc.
6. Avoid ignoring bad behavior or waiting to talk about it. Address a rule as soon as your child breaks it, but do not humiliate a child in front of others. Make correction a private exchange that corrects but is done in an encouraging way.
 7. Bring up the behavior again in private so you can discuss it more thoroughly and make sure your child understands how to behave in the future.
8. Recognize and encourage proper behavior that you like so that your child will be motivated to continue these behaviors.  Positive correction is a good way to help children learn good manners. Instead of focusing on negative behaviors, remind children of positive behaviors. For example, rather than saying, "Don't run," say, "Use walking feet."


Make Manners Fun
  • Explain to your child that formal dinners are special, and get your child excited about attending a formal event. Talk with your child about formal table manners before having your child attend a formal sit down dinner. You can practice by planning a fancy dinner at home. Light candles, use nice plates and dress up for dinner. Have your child ask to be excused from the table when he's done.
  • Have a tea party and demonstrate impeccable manners. Show them how to eat with their mouths closed and how to use napkins to wipe their mouths. Then let them try.
  •  Using a play telephone, demonstrate how to politely answer the phone, then allow your child to practice. If you have two phones, pretend to call each other and carry on a conversation. Role play introductions between two people meeting each other for the first time, or one person introducing someone to another person. Act out scenarios where children must practice manners at the park or playground. Encourage your child if he does well. Gently correct any mistakes that she makes.
  •  Make a "Manners Book" and have your child draw pictures of children practicing good manners. Make a collage of pictures from magazines showing families eating, kids playing nicely, and other scenarios where manners are being practiced. Talk with your child about the pictures he chose for his collage.
  •  Create a place mat with a proper table setting on it. Glue cut-outs of a plate, fork, spoon, knife and napkin to a rectangular sheet of oaktag board, then laminate it.
  •  Make a manners chart where your child can add stickers each time you "catch" them practicing good manners. For some kids, the stickers will be reward and motivation enough. For others, you may want to motivate them further by offering an incentive if they get a certain number of stickers. http://www.ehow.com/list_7461295_ideas-teaching-manners-children.html

Children's Books on Manners
Reading books on manners is another fun way to teach children appropriate ways to behave.
- How do Dinosaurs Eat Their Food? by Jane Yolen and Mark Teague
 -The Berenstain Bears Forget Their Manners  by Jan and Stan Berenstain
- Clifford's Manners by Norman Bridwell

For an extensive list of children's books on manners look here.

No comments:

Post a Comment