Last week when I picked S up from nursery, he ran back in to make sure he said bye to all his class mates and said bye and high-fived his teacher. “He’s such a well mannered child” she said. And like any mother would, I blushed with pride.
I remember reading an article a few weeks before that about a lady who said she would not prompt her child to say please or thank you. And while I can sort of understand where she was coming from (her argument was to allow your child to develop at their own pace), I do believe that in the same way we’d teach our children about the world (colours, new words, foods, etc), our children need to be taught manners.
Of course much of their learning comes from watching the people around them and so being mindful of ourselves and modelling good manners is the best way to teach our children. But a few prompts here and there help significantly.
Here are some fun ways to encourage your child to say thank you:
1. Add a high five! Children love the sense of touch rather than being put on the spot to say a few words. Adding a high five makes saying thank you a fun thing.
2. Get creative! A nice way to say thank you is to send a card or a picture/drawing/painting done by your child. If you explain to them what you’re doing and why you’re doing it, they’ll associate saying thank you and being grateful with a fun activity.
3. Don’t forgot your thank you’s and follow it up with your reasons. So you could say: “Thank you for helping me open the door and letting your friend in”. “Thank you for helping me hang the washing up.” Children are more likely to say thank you if they understand why they are saying it.
And all the time remember, no pressure. Your child might not say it one day and the next day it’ll just click. Forcing the issue or shaming your child in front of other’s will only lead to them grudgingly saying thank you, which really will only make us feel good in front of the other person but make our child resentful.