Manners Monday: Please, Thank You
Manners have always been a big deal in my house. No matter what, manners are non-negotiable elements of life. Sure, they might seem annoying, nit-picky or old-fashioned at first. But, once you start putting them into practice and experiencing the power of manners yourself, it turns out that they actually make life pretty darn enjoyable. And, since featuring the lovely Joyce Gray in my Huffington Post blog about a manners revival, I’ve been wanting to help make manners more of a regular part of every family’s lifestyle. So, every Manners Monday we’ll be putting out a new rule that you can work on with your kids. We’ll include a couple of ways to put it into practice and give you a nice image to pin or instagram or whatever to keep it on your mind. Look, I know that teaching your kids manners can seem daunting, exhausting, and like an endless uphill battle. But the alternative is raising heathens who will bully, cry and inappropriately stomp around life causing their relationships, happiness and careers to suffer. Just start now, stay consistent, and watch them become happier and more successful people. Heck, you might see your own life change, too!
This week’s rule:
Say, “Please,” “Thank you,” and “You’re welcome.”
Put it into practice:
Toddlers 1 – 3 years old
We put this into practice at our house with consistent repetition as soon as we knew the little guy could repeat after us. If he asks for “apple sauce!!!!” I say, “No, you say, “Apple sauce, please.” Usually he repeats it. This holds true for when he wants a toy, to go outside, to put on shoes, to read a book to do anything in the whole wide world. I always either say the above, or, “what do you say?” or, “how do you ask nicely?” We’ve been unflappably practicing this for months and now he even follows kids with cool toys around the playground saying “please, please, please” while holding out his hands. Kinda sad, but so sweet. This same holds true with how we practice “thank you” and “you’re welcome.” We just never stop trying. He is still totally confused about “you’re welcome” and gets “thank you” maybe 50% of the time. But, as long as we keep enforcing it, he’ll eventually get it right. The best part is that he’s so young that he sees us as the all-knowing authorities and wants to do what we say. That, in my book, makes now the perfect time to set this stuff in stone.
Kids 3 – 9 years old:
Make a game out of it. If your kids are old enough, tell them that you will not respond if they don’t say these words correctly. Review with them that you say “please” when you’re asking for something, you say “thank you” when you receive something from someone or when someone does something nice for you, you say “you’re welcome” when someone thanks you for doing something nice. It’s that simple. You can incorporate an encouraging hand gesture into this game like holding your hand up to your ear or waving your hand in the air. And, your kids have to do it for you, too, when you forget to say these magic words. If your family likes to compete, you can keep score of who says these polite things correctly the most in a day or week and celebrate with a dance party or other fun reward to keep the practice up until it becomes habit.