The hardest job kids face today is learning good manners without seeing any -- Fred Astaire
It's true. If you spot a kiddo with manners that are less than lacking, take a look at the parents. Probably they aren't shining examples. All of us try to have good manners. Whether we are on top of our own behavior or when we slip a bit into a good habit, those little eyes are watching and those brains are recording what is acceptable and what isn't. I know it is tough to always be thinking of "teachable moments," but here are a few hints to keep in mind as you embark on this whole manners thing. For this Friday Fit Club, try a few of these - or just one.
-- About three or four, when your kids know how to eat and feed themselves, you can start the table manners mambo. The best way is to have her mimic you. Think phrases like, "See how Daddy holds his fork? Let me see you do it too!" or "Remember how grown-up you are when you wipe your mouth with your napkin - let's show Grandma!"
-- Offer gentle reminders of what to do when they make manner mistakes. "When we burp, we say ‘Excuse me'." Instead of scolding or punishing for bad behavior, just remind them of what is correct and reward them when they use good manners. Whether it is saying thank you when you handed him a toy or sitting and eating like a big boy for lunch, let him pick what's for dinner or give him an extra bit of TV or snuggle time at night.
-- Watch your own actions. If you interrupt your friend when she is talking or if you are impatient when waiting in the grocery line, then your kids will do the same. Be sure to keep yourself in check.
-- Be consistent with what is expected. If you say there is no whining allowed, then do not react or give your child what she wants until she says it in a non-whining way. If you rush through a moment, let her slide on this behavior, and just hand her what she is asking for, she will continue to do it.
Which of these do you use? Share your best ways to get your kids to learn manners!