Tips for teaching and reinforcing good manners.
• Teach manners age appropriately and keep your expectations in check.
• Create a list of good manners and put it where family members can see it. Have a reward system like a marble jar or a sticker chart for using good manners. At the end of the week, let the winner pick the reward, like choosing a fun family activity.
• Reinforce the concepts with resources such as books. For example, read The Berenstein Bears Forget Their Manners.
• Overdo politeness when you are teaching younger children and they will grasp the idea faster.
• Remind children to mind their manners in situations such as going to the shops or a friend’s house.
• Use other people’s behaviour to teach manners. If they see someone acting out at a birthday party, ask what they think of the behaviour and what the child should have done instead. In the same way, point out good manners and behaviour when you see it. For example, “Did you see how she gave up her seat for the granny?”
• Consistency is important. Acquiring good manners takes lots of practice and positive reinforcement. Make sure that you, your partner, and your caregiver are encouraging (and discouraging) and role modeling the same behaviours.
• Use their interests. For example, ask your son how kings meet and greet people. Put out your hand and show him how to shake hands. Tell him kings use good eye contact, a clear voice and have a firm handshake.
• Teach children that being assertive is good but that they should still be polite.
• Give cues when they have forgotten their manners. For example, “What do we say after we get a gift?”
• Correct politely. Try not to embarrass anyone. Keep your voice calm, look the child in the eye and gently put your hand on their shoulder. Show that you care but are not out of control. It may also be appropriate to discuss it privately with the child.