5 Ways to Teach Your Kid to Mind Their Manners
Hypothetically, your kid gets plenty of chances to practice their Emily Post impression, whether it’s graciously thanking a friend’s parents for hosting a play date or actually knocking on the bathroom door instead of just barging in. But teaching your child manners requires more than just telling them what to do. If common courtesy feels a little too uncommon at your house, here are five pointers on how to raise a polite kid of your very own.
Accentuate the positive.
Let your little one in on a little motivational secret: There’s a reason “please” and “thank you” are called magic words — because they get you what you want. And longer term, good manners means more friends.
Dinnertime offers a good half-hour of nonstop etiquette opportunities, from passing the potatoes to learning the fine art of conversation. It’s your best chance to get the manners message across (not to mention bond with your kid). First rule: Put digital devices away and focus your attention on each other. If you’re out to dinner, keep your phone in your pocket and break out Q’s Race to the Top On the Go Pack instead.
At dinner tonight, ask your child to show you what rude behavior looks like. Watch them gleefully throw their fork on the floor, eat food straight from the serving bowl, put their feet on the table and get anything else unmannerly they can think of out of their system. Then ask them to show you polite behavior at the table and praise them profusely when they sit up straight, say their pleases and thank yous and maybe even actually put their napkin on their lap. Another option: Appoint your kid as manners police and take turns acting up and being polite yourself while your child plays parent. Either way, role-playing makes the lesson more fun.
Model polite behavior.
Kids learn from what you do, so make sure you’re practicing the politeness you preach: Hold the door for them, don’t interrupt their story about the plot of the cartoon they just watched and say please when you ask them to make their bed.
Correct them privately.
Just a polite reminder that it’s not good manners (or effective) to reprimand your child in public. Kids are easily embarrassed, and embarrassment makes kids deaf to etiquette lessons — so it’s best to save your “please do not knock over the cereal display” or “we don’t throw peas at the next table” until you have them out of the earshot of others. Like it or not, your first impulse may be to admonish them loudly lest others judge you for lax parenting — but resist. Instead, pick them up and head outside until they (and likely you) calm down, then deliver your politesse pep talk.
Encourage family conversation and good manners anywhere, anytime with Q’s Race to the Top On the Go Pack!