As Spring and Summer commence, so do many events in which our children are invited to attend. Some of these events include Graduations, Communions, Weddings and Family Reunions. We always hope to have our children acting their best and using their manners. As parents, our busy schedules oftentimes hinder the everyday practice of using these skills and reminding our children to use them, as well.

There are some basic practices that we can use that will keep our children up to par so that when we do attend a formal function, they are prepared to shine.

As you sit down for breakfast, ask your children what they would like to drink. If your child responds, “Juice”, reply by saying, “I would like juice please.” This is your child’s cue to repeat his request by using his manners.
When out in public, if someone holds the door for you, always say, “Thank You.” When your child hears you saying thank you, she will also pick up on the verbal cue and repeat it. Setting the example is the best form of teaching manners.

You can read children’s books, as we do in our daycare, that emphasis using manners. Some examples of these types of books, used in our child care preschool, are:

-Just Say Please by Gina and Mercer Mayer
-The Berenstain Bears Forget Their Manners by Stan and Jan Berenstain
-Mind Your Manners by Peggy Parish and Marylin Hafner

This will not only help reinforce the idea of using manners, but will also allow for some quality family time.

Giving praise to children can go a long way. So when your child does exhibit the use of good manners, thank them for doing so, as we do in our preschool. You could even create a rewards chart for using them on a daily basis or give stickers as a motivator.

There are some habits that can be easily resolved by having an action plan or looking to see if there is an underlying issue. These include, nose picking, playing with food, and not sitting still. Here are some suggestions to combat these difficult situations:

– Nose picking: Try using a humidifier at night—your heating or air conditioning may be drying out the air and irritating your little ones nose. Also, keep his little hands busy. While in the car or watching TV, let him have a ball to squeeze or finger puppets to play with.
– Playing with Food: Most times when children play with their food, it is because they are finished and trying to occupy themselves. Remind your child that food is for eating, not playing. Ask your child if he is finished and remove his plate.
– Sitting Still: Keep them busy and have an escape plan. Always take along books, crayons, paper and a few small toys to keep your little one busy. Additionally, sit at the end of the row or near the door so that if you need to go for a walk, you have easy access.

Remember that practice and praise are the keys to you and your child mastering manners for successful outings.