We all want our children to have good manners. Manners can and should begin to be taught to children as soon as they begin to speak. Saying “please” and “thank you” are common manners. Parents who model good manners in front of their children often see the children beginning to use appropriate manners. If your child has bad manners, implement some of the “Manners Matter” listed below. Remember, parents need to demonstrate good manners. If you show up to the dinner table not wearing a shirt, the child may demonstrate this behavior too. Before you speak to your child about good manners, read through the steps listed below and begin practicing these steps in front of your child. After practicing these steps for at least a week, sit down with your child and ask them if they noticed any changes that you, the parent, have been displaying in regards to good manners.

Manners Matter

· The first step in helping your child to develop good manners is to identify or make a list of “Good Manners.” List of goods manners can be written for the home, friend’s homes, school, eating establishments, sporting activities and other places that you allow your child to frequent. Place the lists in a place where you and the child can easily refer to them. Have your child help write or draw up the lists.

· When your child is displaying poor manners don’t lecture, teach! For example: Show your child by wiping your own mouth with a napkin that that’s the appropriate manners to use, instead of the side of an arm. Be positive while you are teaching.

· Go to your neighborhood library. Select several children’s books that teach good manners through a story. Use this book as a story telling time before bed, dinner, playing with friends and more. There are literally hundreds of books written for elementary school-age children using the “manner” theme to help parents teach good manners through story telling. Some parents request these books as gifts to be given to younger children for their birthdays.

· Teach your child appropriate signals or body language (other than your voice) to remind them to use good manners. For example, placing your finger on your ear may be used to help remind the child to listen to others while they talk. Rubbing your lip may be used to remind the child to slow down when eating food.

· Avoid bringing your child to places that challenges your child’s ability to use good manners for a long period of time. For example, if you are house hunting, furniture shopping or attending a restaurant that is primarily frequented by adults, you may want to consider leaving your child at home or with a sitter, if appropriate.

· Do not be afraid to remove your child from a setting if he or she continues to display bad manners. Dismiss the child from the dinner table after you have reminded the child of the need to use good manners. Put this plan at the bottom of the good manner list as a consequence that will be used if the child refuses to use good manners.

· Do not encourage your child to use bad manners by laughing at them after they burp, at silly at an inappropriate time, make a funny face when someone is serious. This only teaches the child to use poor manners.

· Always take the time to review the good manner lists before going to the grocery store, someone house for dinner, sporting events and other places that your child may attend.

Author's Bio: 

Scott Wardell has a Masters Degree in School Counseling and a Specialist Degree in School Administration. He has twenty-eight years of counseling and educational experience. Scott is a Past President of the Minnesota Association of Middle Level Educators. He has presented at numerous parenting workshops, educational in-services and has been a keynote speaker on topics involving Child Development, School Bullies and Parenting. Scott Wardell is the creator, author and editor of ScottCounseling.com; a Website devoted to assisting parents with informational articles and online counseling services.

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