March’s Parenting Tip: Teaching Children Manners

Do you find yourself wondering how to teach manners to your child?

According to Leslie Hundt, Curriculum Specialist for Ebenezer Child Care Centers, with locations on Milwaukee’s southside and in downtown Milwaukee, Oak Creek, and West Allis/Wauwatosa, “Teaching Manners is easier than you think.”

Here are some tips:

Set standards
As the parent, you set the expectations for your child. Establish rules and guidelines that are important to your family.

Be a role model
You are the role model for your children. Children watch and imitate everything you do and say. If your family expectation is to say please when you ask for something then that behavior starts with you. When you continuously exhibit the standards you establish, your children understand this is important to you and will imitate your behavior.

Reinforce positive behaviors
When you see your child exhibit the standards you established-tell him. Refrain from using the words “good job” as this does not tell your child what they did that was good. Be more specific. If your child holds the door open for someone tell him how kind he is to hold the door open. Now he knows what he did that was good and why it was good.

Don’t allow interruptions and don’t interrupt
Your child usually wants your attention immediately and often when you are in the middle of something else. As a preschooler, your child is old enough to wait a few minutes until you are finished with what you are doing. Tell your child you will be with him as soon as you finish. Model that same behavior. Do not interrupt your child when they are in the middle of doing something. Give your child the respect you expect them to give you.

Be consistent
Remember to use your manners and reinforce good manners on a regular basis. If this is something you are teaching your child, tell other significant adults in your child’s life. Other caregivers need to know what your expectations are so they can reinforce what you are teaching your child.

What to teach:

Basic table manners
Eat with a spoon or fork. Use your napkin to wipe your face and hands. Stay seated at the table while eating.

Using please and thank you
Role model good manners by using please and thank you with your child. Encourage the use of please and thank you by reminding your child when to use the words you expect.

Talking (instead of yelling, crying or screaming)
Help children use words by encouraging them to tell you what they want instead of crying, screaming or yelling. In some cases children need to know what to say. If your child is screaming for juice and you have been giving it to him after he screams, change your behavior. When your child screams for juice tell him to say, “Can I have juice please?” After repetition he will begin to ask you for juice instead of yelling or screaming. This takes time and patience.

Remember it is OK if your child makes mistakes. Learning to use manners takes repetition and patience. Over time they will learn to use manners just as easily as other skills.

Ebenezer Child Care Centers is a not-for-profit, locally based agency committed to providing early childhood programs from the heart. The agency prides itself on being different from other child care providers in that it offers a home-like atmosphere; individualized, nurturing care; and a structured curriculum that is virtues-based for every child’s developmental stage. Every Ebenezer Child Care Center focuses on all aspects of a child’s development: cognitive, physical, emotional, and social. In addition to providing quality care, the agency also offers other educational programming all aimed at helping parents.

The agency has locations in on Milwaukee’s southside and in downtown Milwaukee, Oak Creek, and West Allis/Wauwatosa. The agency’s main office is located at 1496 South 29th Street, Milwaukee. For more information, please call 414-643-5070.