Tuesday, November 3

Manners Matter

When my kids were young, I didn't really think about manners as a 'parenting value'. I don't think many young moms did then. We just told our kids to be 'nice'!

I love how young moms use 'sign language' with their very young children long before they can speak! A simple 'sign' of 'please' or 'thank you' starts the young child to converse with abit of understanding that he/she needs to communicate in a certain way to get what they want.

Manners in conversation takes a long time to teach. It starts as you converse with your child. Eye contact and a kind voice will be duplicated by your child over the years if you are truly consistent with it yourself. Basic courtesy, such as treating your child as a participant in a conversation, is vital as a mom.

Children just naturally 'interrupt' when talking because everything is about them to begin with. It is easier to stop interruptions before they become a habit.

The holidays are a perfect time to work on manners and to build this value into your family.

Start early in November with family dinners. Light a candle and 'practice' manners as a family. Sorry, I wish I could say this only takes a few dinners to instill good habits. It takes years, but you will see progress if you stick with it.

If you entertain during the holidays, include your children for the first 5-10 minutes before you send them off to their bedrooms or to the babysitter. Let them see you and your guests interact. Again, let them be a participant not a performer when you have company. Your child will begin to see what manners are for and will eventually feel good about themselves that they know how to act in a formal setting.

I never found teaching manners was easy but as the years went by, I saw the fruits of my labor.

Start this holiday season and be intentional in passing on good manners.

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