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Good Manners: Teaching your Children

Every parent wants their children to be respectful and display good manners. It's such an advantage for a child to act appropriately for a given situation. Learning these life skills at an early age will help them now and in the future. Here are some ways to help your child form good habits and display good manners now and for the rest of their lives.

Be a Good Example with Your Manners

It's always interesting as parents, that we want our kids to act in a certain way, but were not willing to do the same. The very first step in teaching and helping them form good manners is for us to walk the walk and talk the talk. Evaluate how you interact with your family, friends and co workers. How do you treat them? When you’re at a gathering, how do you eat? One glaring example of this is my brother in law. He has terrible table and eating manners. Every time we get together he thinks we're eating SEE- food. And guess what? His daughter eats just like him. So take the time to evaluate your manners. Be honest with yourself. If your kids are acting in a way that you find inappropriate, make sure that you're not the source. If you are, then change your ways and tell your kids that it isn't good manners and make the changes with them.

Find Time to Be With Your Kids

How can you know the way your children are acting, unless your actually around them. I know it can be extremely difficult, especially when both parents work. But regardless if you're a one or two parent family, you need to spend enough time with your kids on a daily basis to know how they act, as well as find the time to teach them good manners. Dinner time and a weekly family night are great ways to spend time with your kids:

Dinner Every Night

If you're not doing this already, it might seem really hard to start doing. It's a critical activity to keeping in touch with your kids. It teaches them the needed manners that carry over into school and society in general. Where else can you teach proper table manners? It takes repetitive reminders on how to sit, eat with the mouth closed, and learn how to use utensils properly. This is the time that children can learn how to participate in a conversation and take turns talking, as well as learn to deal with conflicting ideas in a safe environment.

Schedule a Weekly Family Night

Pick a night that you can all spend an hour or two together and have some sort of lesson on anything (Maybe on good manners and other social topics?). Then, have a game and some treats at the end. Children can learn a lot of responsibility, manners and getting along with each other’s through this weekly activity. You can even go further and give your children different responsibilities each week, to plan and carry out their family night job. You as a parent need to realize and understand that teaching manners and social skills will be an ongoing process. It just takes repetition to get children to act in a certain way. Kids seem to act a lot better when they're away from the home. It's often really surprising when you hear from one of your children's friends parents. They'll say they are always so well behaved and so nice all the time. Your reaction to this might be, "You’re talking about my kids?". The lesson ... even if you don't think you're making any progress, you are.

Teach Your Children That There are Consequences to Actions

I'm sure you've heard this before, but it's worth saying again. Set rules, the consequences for breaking them and stick to them; be firm. The key is explaining very clearly to your kids the rules and what happens when they don't follow them. They need to be accountable and suffer the consequences. Maybe suffer is a harsh word, but you know what I mean. Also, it's really important to make sure that they know you still love them and they are not bad, they just did something that broke a rule. What does this all have to do with manners? You need to set up certain rules with expectations for how they're going to behave. If they are accountable for their manners, they'll think twice before getting out of line. And after awhile, they'll just act in a certain way because it's become a habit.

Give Them Experiences, So They Can Learn Manners in the Real World

Besides the dinner table, which was mentioned earlier, it's important that you give your kids as many opportunities as possible. When they're young, they need to get out in the real world and learn appropriate manners by being out among others with your supervision. How do you do that? Going to a retirement home or to a shelter and let your children serve with you. They'll see how you interact, talk with others and they can use that as an example. Also, you can be there to help them develop their manners in interacting and talking to others on their own. If you start now, you can teach good manners and your kids and it will make it so much easier for them in their lives as well as yours.