Teaching Your Children Good Manners

Teaching your children good manners creates a foundation for them that will follow them through life.

In this day and age, it's appalling at the lack of manners and respect that children have for people around them. Teaching a child how to behave properly is not hard at all, but is something that must be started while they are young and reinforced constantly. As they grow, you'll find if the foundation is there, the reminders are less and less and you will be proud of the well-mannered child you have raised

The beginnings of manners are the two simple words/phrases of "Please" and "Thank You". As young as a one-year old, you should be using these terms on a daily basis w/them. When you hand them something, like their juice, say "Please" so that they associate receiving something with that word. If they hand something to you, like a toy you've asked for, respond with a "Thank You" - again to have the association with the phrase for when they do an action asked of them. If you continue using these two words/phrases every day, your child will learn that they are something to be used whenever they wish something, or when they have completed a task.

Although we raise our children to not talk to strangers, it is polite behavior to at least respond with a greeting when they have been spoken to. When someone says "Hello" or talks to him or her, it's a good habit to get into with them to prompt them to respond at least with a "Hello" back. This is a little more difficult since most children are shy when spoken to, but again, gentle, encouraging reinforcement will soon bring the appropriate response.

Teaching a child to share and be generous to others is also a daunting task, but can be accomplished. Sharing is hard when they are young since they feel that everything within their house is theirs. When another child comes to play and starts to interact with their toys in a manner that they don't play with them, the child feels threatened and will respond by taking their toy back, or becoming defensive of their play area. To encourage your child to share, explain that this other child is here to visit and has no toys to play with. Explain how your child would be sad without anything to play with, then settle on some toys that your child isn't overly attached with to share with the visitor. Do not expect your child to hand over their favorite toys, and do not force them to do so. Put those toys away or out of reach, and explain to the children that those are your child's special toys and aren't for general playing. Your child will be reassured by these actions. Don't expect your child to be sharing right off the bat or even to forget and get possessive - these are children, and you must remember this. But over time, if you continue to encourage your child to share and be generous with their possessions, the foundation is there that the majority of the time, your child will behave accordingly.

If your child is using inappropriate language or yelling, being rude, you need to nip that in the bud. Sit down and talk to your child and find out why they are behaving in such a manner. Did they see someone else do that/ talk like that, or is something upsetting them that you are unaware of? These actions aren't without a reason - something usually is prompting your child to act to get your attention. Make sure to be soft spoken when dealing with your child - yelling at them or responding negatively will not solve the problem, but most likely make it worse.

Most of all remember you are dealing with a child. You are teaching them and only continual support and reminders will help them learn the lessons. Negative attitudes or punishments will not raise them to behave properly - you must help them learn early how to behave. Make sure you practice what you preach. If you are acting inappropriately, don't be surprised if your child imitates you in your behavior. The student will only learn what the teacher is teaching, and that applies to good and bad behavior.

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