Promoting Good Manners in Your Child

Teaching good manners to your child is one of the most important jobs you may have as a parent. We all want our children to act appropriately in all social situations, and the best and first place your child can learn the basics is at home with your guidance. There are many great ways to get your child off on the right foot.

First off, establish manners that should be followed both at home and in public. A great example includes using a tissue to blow your nose and chewing with your mouth closed.

Always reward your child for displaying good manners both at home and in public. Be sure that you include verbal praise. Let them know what they are doing correctly and how much you appreciate their efforts.

Be sure that everyone in the family follows the same rules for manners and that everyone practices them both at home and out in public.

Carefully consider your child’s age before expecting certain manners at home and in public.

The best way to show your child how to display good manners is to be a good role model. Always use good manners yourself.

Demonstrate how to use good manners. “See how mommy chews with her mouth shut?” It is easier for children to grasp new concept when they are carefully explained and demonstrated for them.

When your child does not demonstrate an appropriate manner, explain exactly what he/she did wrong, what should have been done, and why. Gently tell them or show them how to demonstrate the appropriate action.

Sit down with your child and make up a list of situations where you can use good manners. You’ll be amazed at how many your child can think up all on their own! Place the list in a place where you and your child can see it and discuss it everyday.

Give your child scenarios such as, “Daddy is watching t.v. and it is so loud that I cannot hear what Grandma is saying on the phone. What kind of manners could daddy use to make it easier for mommy while she is on the phone with Grandma?” This gives your child an opportunity to think of the situation and come up with a solution on their own. Interacting with your child in this manner will help them recognize situations in the future and come up with a solution on their own using independent reasoning.

Talk about appropriate manners often, especially before going out in public. Ask your child to tell you a few of the manners the entire family may need to use when going somewhere in specific like a restaurant.

Make certain your child sees the relationship between hi/her behavior and the consequences which follow.

Allow natural consequences to occur due to your child’s inability to demonstrate appropriate behavior, such as he/she may not be allowed to go to a restaurant because of inappropriate behavior at the table.

Remove your child from a public place, such as the movie theatre until he/she can demonstrate appropriate behaviors.

Avoid engaging your child in excessively long activities that are not geared for children such as long bouts at the mall or adult get-togethers.

Be consistent about expecting certain manners. If your child displays something inappropriate such as burping, be sure that you bring manners to their attention immediately. Do not laugh one time, then scold the next. This will confuse your child and they will not realize when it is okay and when it is inappropriate.

When learning and demonstrating new manners, develop a signal or sign with your child so that you might alert them at the onset of using bad manners. This will give your child a sensible warning and give them the opportunity to correct their behavior on their own.

When correcting your child, remember to be firm, supportive and loving.

Immediately remove your child from the situation when he/she begins to behave inappropriately. Do not allow your child to return unless he/she can demonstrate acceptable behavior.

Let your child know that he/she often embarrasses others when doing inappropriate things in public. Do not encourage your child to be silly and to entertain others, then scold your child when he/she begins to act too silly and/or acts silly at a time you find inappropriate.

Always require your child to use appropriate manners at home and in public.

Make sure that baby-sitters, grandparents and other parents are aware of the manners you expect from your child, and have them communicate any problems with you immediately.

Above all, remember that perfect manners is not what you should ultimately strive for. Having a good sense of when certain behaviors are appropriate and inappropriate come with both time and experience, and is often a skill that most adults have not yet mastered! Always offer loving encouragement to your child. Try to be fair and don’t forget to reward good behavior with positive verbal praise and lots of hugs!

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