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Teaching manners to children
July 30, 2013, 11:25 am

Do your child's manners leave a little something to be desired? From saying "please" and "thank you" to greeting guests when they come over, teaching kids good manners is an important part of building character. The good news is that teaching children manners do not have to be an uphill battle. Following are some positive ways to teach your child manners.

Lay down the ground rules: Make sure children know exactly what is expected from them when it comes to good manners. Explain the differences between being rude and being polite and go over how you would like them to behave. And, don't forget to be specific.

Repeat yourself: Repetition is the best teaching tool. So, on those occasions where your youngster does something that is improper or rude, offer a gentle reminder of the polite thing he should do the next time.

Give plenty of praise: Kids respond best to positive reinforcement, so give plenty of praises when your little learner does something right. Avoid scolding or nagging your kid and instead embrace the moment. Let them know that their behavior is commendable.

Role play: Teaching your child through role play works with just about any behavior you would like to explain, including manners. Acting out the etiquette you wish to see your superstar exhibit will both help them understand what is expected and give you both a chance to have a little fun.

Understand their actions: Help your children understand the harm they can cause by doing or saying thoughtless and unkind things. Ask them, "How would you feel if someone pointed at you, and started to laugh?" In the beginning, you may simply be doing damage control, but eventually you will be helping them to avoid harmful words or actions.

Point out the good behavior of others: Parents aren't the only role models when it comes to manners for children. Point out the courtesy and politeness that family members and others are exhibiting so they can see good manners in action.

Practice family politeness: Everyone in the family must be involved in a "please" and "thank-you" policy in which, for example, no request is considered unless the person asking says "please." When your children forget, just give them a look that says, "I'm waiting." They soon catch on. Use the same approach for saying "thank you." Reward good behavior: Set up a sticker chart to track their good manners. Then, reward their progress with a prize or privilege. The visual reminder will help them stay on task while giving a little incentive to perfect their etiquette.

Keep kids healthy: Children tend to behave badly when they are tired or hungry. Kids need sleep and nutritious foods to live fulfilling lives. It is that simple. 

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