Are your kids struggling to remember to say please and thank you? It is hard work to instill manners as a habit for our little ones. Here are my best tips for getting them to mind their manners.
Tips to Get Kids to Say Please and Thank You
When my kids were little it was a constant battle to get them to remember to say please and thank you. Having good manners and expecting my children to display them when we were out in public and at home was important to me, so I knew I needed to come up with some strategies to help them.
I started with the basics and then turned good manners into a game of sorts. I found that my children responded best to activities when they were incentivized and, while I ultimately wanted them to exhibit the behavior on their own without a reward, I knew that when they were first learning new skills positive reinforcement went a long way.
If you are having a difficult time getting your kids to say please and thank you, try some of my tips below. They are easy to do and you might find that your children catch on faster than you could have hoped.
Ways to Get Kids to Say Please and Thank You
Out of everything that you could do to help your children remember to use their manners is to use your own. Say please and thank you for everything at every chance you get. Your children are always watching you and when you display good manners, they will begin to as well. In fact, your kids might even point out when you have forgotten to say please or thank you! Use those incidences as teachable moments to explain that while we sometimes forget, we become more aware the next time.
There have been times when I have forgotten to say thank you to a clerk or cashier and my children have pointed it out before we left the store. On those occasions, I have turned us around and gone back to apologize for not saying it and thanking them for their help.
Make It a Game
When my kids were consistently forgetting to say please and thank you, we turned it into a game. They had to mind their manners by not calling out but they got a “polite point” for each time they said please or thank you. The child with the most points at the end of the day could pick out the picture book that we would read the next morning.
My kids would actually start up conversations or ask for something just so they could display their manners and get points. I did not mind since they were practicing the skills I wanted them to acquire, but if you have a lot of children this might be overwhelming.
Caught Being Polite
Displaying good manners and saying please and thank you when we were out has always been important to me. So, when my kids were really focusing on saying please and thank you, I would keep a pack of small stickers in my purse or wallet. When they were “caught being polite” to our server or a cashier, I would give them a small smiley face sticker. It was not a big reward, but it was the act of recognizing their behavior and rewarding them for it.
My children would save those stickers and put them on their notebooks at home as a record of all of the times I had “caught” them. It became just as important to them to use good manners as it did for me to see them display them.
As saying please and thank you became more ingrained, I would “catch” them less and less. While I would still inwardly beam with pride, I did not make a big deal out of it or give them a sticker. Eventually, the need to give stickers at all disappeared and their manners were firmly in place.
Nothing can replace kind, positive praise from a parent or loved one. Simply recognizing a child’s efforts to be polite and use good manners can go a long way. I found that when I praised one child for being so polite, the others were quick to follow as they wanted the same acknowledgment and praise as well.
A quick side-hug and, “You were so polite saying please and thank you! I appreciate that so much! Great job!” can mean the difference between a child who values good manners and one who puts no effort or emotion behind them.
Parenting Is Hard
Parenting is hard but teaching your children to say please and thank you should not be. Try some of the tips above and see if they work with your children.
If you have another trick that has worked well for you, please let me know! I would love to hear how your children were able to master their pleases and thank yous!
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