Good manners are one of the secrets to a successful life. They help people create new friends, exhibit confidence and show respect. Therefore, everyone needs to learn good manners as they grow up.
Parents all desire for their children to have good manners and be well-behaved, but oftentimes it can be difficult to know how to teach these important life skills to your children.
Be a role model
A parent is the child’s first teacher. So much of what your children learn is through watching and imitating you. Children are sponges and they will soak up everything you do. Of course, this is adorable when they talk on the phone or flip through a book just like you would, but oftentimes we forget that our behaviors have a far deeper impact on our children than we realize. If you want your children to have good manners, that behavior starts with you.
Make it a game
Mary Poppins was right when she said that “in every job that must be done, there is an element of fun.” However, this wisdom applies to teaching too. If you want a lesson to stick with your child, one of the best ways to teach a child is through the use of games. Especially at such a young age, children are not ready to listen to an entire lesson on how to have good manners; instead what you can do is make it enjoyable for them to use their manners rather than just a chore that they have to do.
It is easy to slip into the fallacy of always correcting our children when they do something wrong, but oftentimes we forget to encourage or reward them when they do something right. Positive reinforcement is one of the most powerful behavior modification tools at your disposal, especially for something as important as manners. Even something as simple as giving your child a high five or just saying good job is a great motivator for your child. Of course, if they are struggling with one aspect of good manners, you could increase the reward by creating a sticker chart, so that they can keep track of all of their successes.
Don’t ignore bad manners
Sometimes it is easier to simply ignore our child having bad manners because we are in a rush or do not have the energy to deal with it at the moment. However, by ignoring bad manners, we are setting a poor standard for our children. Oftentimes, children, especially at younger ages, will test the boundaries of what you as their parents say, and when you allow them to escape without comment once, they will be exponentially more likely to do it again in the future. Therefore, even though it will be difficult, each time your child must display poor manners you need to correct them.
Avoid giving a lecture
When you are correcting your child, it can be simple to slip into lecture mode. However, no one appreciates being lectured, whether they are a kid or adult, and studies show that they are an ineffective teaching tool for any age, but especially for preschoolers who have an infamously short attention span.
So no matter how frustrated you might feel at the moment, keep a cool head, and focus on teaching your child rather than lecturing them. One way to do this is by asking questions. Of course, kids are infamous for just responding with “I dunno,” so here are some examples that you can ask your child to open up that channel of communication:
What do you think you should do when someone gives you something?
How would you feel if Anna said that to you?
How can you show Mrs. Andrews that you liked her gift?
Another tip for asking questions is to make the situation apply to them so that they are the ones that are realizing what they did was wrong; that way they are more likely to use good manners without you standing over their shoulder to enforce the rules.
Remember that you are on the child’s side, and your goal is to help them build important skills so that they can have a successful life. Using these tips will help you set your child up for success in the long run.
If you’re interested in learning more about how to teach your preschool child good manners, visit our website, The Learning Experience. You can also find a daycare center that’s right for you and your child by visiting Find a TLE Center on our website.