Guiding children to show good manners and respect
Storyberries offers free children's books and parenting suggestions for promoting good manners and respect.
Good manners are ways of acting and speaking that convey respect and consideration; for example, affectionate forms of greeting, acts of courtesy or having polite table manners. What is considered polite or respectful varies (for example across cultures), so it’s really helpful to take time to reflect on our own values and those of the people around us (neighbours, extended family, school etc,), so that we can best help our children fit into their social worlds. By reflecting in this way we begin to build a clearer picture of the behaviours that really matter to us; those that are more negotiable, and those we feel less concerned about.
Storyberries offers free children’s books and parenting suggestions for encouraging good manners and a respectful attitude in kids:
Make good manners a daily practiceThe first step is for everyone to practice. Even when our children are babies, we can say good morning, good afternoon and evening to them. Likewise, from an early age, we can get into the habit of saying please and thank you, and asking for forgiveness.
Have fun and be creative with theatre and role-playMimicry is a great way to learn, and especially effective when we use dolls and role play. For example, acting out scenes from everyday life by having one doll behave with good manners and another without them. Talking to children about each doll’s attitudes helps them understand what is socially acceptable and what is not. Another fun approach is to dress up and pretend to be different people.
Learning through playPrepare an association game by printing images of children with good and bad manners. Kids just love it!.
Play games that encourage patienceTurn-based board games are ideal for teaching children to be patient. Think of how your children behave when you are talking to someone else. Do they wait patiently to ask you for something, or do they interrupt the conversation? These kinds of games can help teach the importance of respect and patience.
Sing songs!There are lots of songs available for preschool and elementary age children on the theme of manners. Have fun finding your favourites and singing them together!
Read together!Reading can be a great option for teaching children good manners. Many times it is easier for children to understand which behaviors are helpful or unhelpful, when they are not themselves the protagonists of the situation.
Play the magic word game!In this game, one of the participants is a magician, with a magic wand. The music starts and everyone dances until the magician stops the music and casts a spell. The magician then politely asks everyone to do something – for example, pretend to be a dog – so everyone imitates being a dog. The magician thanks them, and the music starts up again. If the magician forgets the magic words, “please” and “thank you”, they lose, and another participant becomes the magician.
Make use of technologyCartoons and computer games about manners: technology can be another helpful way for children to learn good manners. Watch short cartoons about manners together, and you’ll be amazed at how quickly your kids bring them to life! There are also fun apps and games which encourage children to practice positive behaviour.
Mama, What’s For Lunch?Thabo and Tumi love the food their mama preoares. In this delightful picture book for young children, they show their excitement and their pleasure – and they remember to say thank you!
Baby’s First Family PhotoA beautifully illustrated picture book telling the story of a family getting ready to have their photo taken together to celebrate the arrival of the new baby. They show their love and respect by dressing up for the special occasion.
The LetterAll families have conflicts and children sometimes see their parents arguing. In this very thoughtful story, Julia decides to write a letter to her parents explaining how she feels. A beautiful book for exploring themes of respect, consideration and non-violent communication.
Article by Luzmery M. Romero Gamboa and Fleur Rodgers
Luzmery works in the area of clinical psychology as a psychotherapist for children, adolescents and families. Since 2016, she has run a Psychological Center in Venezuela called Psicoluz. She offers workshop facilitations to parents, is involved in recreational activities for children, and has been working as a freelancer since 2017 performing online psychotherapy.
Fleur is a meditation teacher in France and uses a compassion and loving-kindness based approach to meditation and slow-minded living. Fleur posts regularly to Instagram @rodgers.fleur . She has two children, is a qualified teacher in adult education and is the founder of Timeouttobreathe.com