Manners Monday: Be Nice, Don’t Snatch
Welcome back! Manners Monday is helping young kids, and their parents, be more polite. This week might, hopefully, be for the younger side of spectrum but it has been coming up a lot in my world lately so I feel compelled to address it. We’re talking about snatching things out of people’s hands and how to curb the habit by being nice. I’ll be the first to admit that sometimes, being nice just sucks. It means you don’t get what you want, even though you’re doing the right thing. How insanely frustrating! But, that’s life. If you’ve ever had a job, you know this to be true. If you’ve ever been to school or had friends, you know this to be true. If you have parents, you know this to be true. So life is hard sometimes, let’s teach out kids how to handle it with grace even if it hurts a little sometimes.
This week’s rule
Be nice, don’t snatch
Put it into practice
Toddlers 1 – 3 years old:
At this age, kiddos are exploring their limits and learning that some things are theirs and other things aren’t. These two things combine to form the “snatch”. Kids see things that they want and then lock in and have to have it. So, they walk over and snatch it up whether it’s in someone’s hands or on the floor. But, snatching is not nice so this lesson is a great time to revisit saying please, thank you and you’re welcome. If you see your child on a path to snatch, let it happen so that they can see that hey hurt someone’s feelings. That helps you teach them that snatching hurts feelings and isn’t nice. You don’t want to make another person upset so if someone is playing with a toy that you want to play with, you have to ask and say please. And, just because you ask nicely doesn’t mean that you will get to play with it. Sometimes, you have to find something else to have fun with. I know it seems like a complicated concept to teach small kids. It is. So, don’t get frustrated if you have to go over this again and again and again. As long as you are consistent, it will work itself out.
Kids 3 – 9 years old:
Kids 3-9 who are snatching missed the boat earlier on and have back tracking to do. Or, they’ve regressed for one reason or another. That’s fine. But we still have to be respectful of other people’s property. Luckily, at this age, kids are able to understand the concept of being respectful so you can use that to your advantage. You can role play and try different sorts of scenarios of snatching and not snatching. Asking nicely and getting both yes and no answers and how to respond. If you or your child says “no” during role playing, you can play out what that will feel like for both people. It doesn’t feel good to get what you want if you hurt someone’s feelings. Use things that you know they’ll want like stickers or action figures or whatever they’ll freak out about to role play with. Try a few different scenarios each day this week and guide your child if you see them in an outside situation where this new skill is necessary. Remind them of the scenario you played at home and to consider the other person’s perspective. If you don’t see a shift by the end of the week, just keep working on it over the coming weeks on a daily basis. Play a scenario every day after dinner when their bellies are full and they’re fairly emotionally stable. Never do this role playing just before a meal or just before bedtime. You’ll only find frustration. Good luck!