Please Pass the Manners – November 2011

Are you tired of hearing your children burp at the dinner table every night? Do you find yourself wishing that, for just once, your children would say please or thank you without needing to be reminded?

According to Beverly Anderson, Executive Director of Ebenezer Child Care Centers with locations in Milwaukee, Mequon, Greenfield, Oak Creek, and Wauwatosa, “Teaching children good manners is a gradual process that needs to be continuously worked on, and preschool is the perfect time to start with the basics.”

Here are some simple ways you can start getting your children to use good manners.

Setting Standards

According to Anderson, before your preschooler develops his own conscience, you need to be establishing manner guidelines for what you view to be considerate behavior.

These can be simple things such as always shutting the door when you use the bathroom or always covering your mouth when you cough. The key is to have your children grow up with these types of guidelines, so they know what behaviors are expected of them.

This is particularly important, according to Anderson, for mealtime manners. She says it’s important to start from early on with a routine that includes teaching children to wash their hands before mealtime, use their silverware and a napkin, never talk with their mouths full, never complain about the food, and
remain at the table until all are finished.

“If your children are picky eaters, instead of letting them complain about food selections, allow them to request small ‘no thank you’ size helpings,” says Anderson.  “It allows them to feel some control over mealtime without exhibiting negative behaviors that others may find offensive.”

Serving As a Role Model

If you want your children to learn to say please and thank you, then Anderson says you need to make sure you are leading by example.

She says to make a point to incorporate these words into the requests you make to your children, and also make sure that they understand that this is a basic requirement in your family’s way to request things.

If your children forget to say their magic words, kindly remind them, and over time it will become a natural part of their behavior.

Reinforcing Positive Behaviors and Stopping Negative Behaviors

If you see your children, someone in public, or even someone on TV exhibit a positive behavior, be sure to point it out and praise it. Tell your children that people like others who exhibit good manners, because it makes them feel good.

Likewise, if you see a negative behavior, use it as an opportunity to explain in simple terms why negative
behaviors (such as not sharing) make others feel bad. Be sure to ask your children how they feel when someone exhibits negative behaviors toward them. If you consistently demonstrate the link between respect and behavior, your children will think, ‘that is how I want to act and be treated.’

Ebenezer Child Care Centers will be hosting a Free Family Fun Night on Please Pass the Manners” on Wednesday, November 16th, from4:30-6:30 p.m. at their Oak Creek Center located at 220 West Forest Hill Avenue, Oak Creek. Good manners are a very important key to your child’s social success, but no child is born with good manners. Teaching them is a parent’s responsibility. Beyond teaching “please” and “thank you” many parents aren’t sure how to teach their child good manners. Come to this Family Fun Night for some great tips and resources. Activities will include making thank you cards, setting a table, and creating a thankful tree. In addition to the activities, you will have the opportunity to enjoy dinner on us! Registration is required. Please call 414-643-5070 to register.