A good way to teach your child manners is to explain that there are different manners that are appropriate for different places. For example, there are library manners, store manners, church manners, restaurant manners and playground manners. Before we get out of the car to go in anywhere, I ask my kids to review with me what manners we need to use for our situation. It helps to remind them, because then they take a moment to think about what is expected of them.
Library manners are important for more than one reason. First, the library has rules that must be followed, if those rules are not followed if affects more than just us. Other people are in the library and it is rude to others if my kids are disruptive. Second, library books must be part of good library manners. You don’t need to have a big long list of rules. A few reminders of library manners will be sufficient. No loud talking, no running and be gentle with the library books. To adults, these manners are obvious but unfortunately, we have been in the library many times and observed children being loud and wild. My children really enjoy going to the library and I’ve been taking them since they were very young. I started teaching them library manners from the very first time I took them.
Store manners are in some ways similar to library manners and in some ways different. Usually the atmosphere in a store is a bit louder than the library so the kids don’t need to be as quiet, but they don’t need to yell either. I truly haven’t had a problem with my kids pitching a fit in the store because we don’t allow that at home. They each have tried it at one time or another but immediately I make sure I am on their eye level and firmly let them know it isn’t allowed. I am all for being prepared and having distractions available for the children, especially when they are younger. Snacks, toys and books are always good standbys. While I am a supporter of a bag full of distractions, I am definitely not a supporter of bribing. There is no reason for you as a parent to ever use the bribe “please be good for mommy and I will buy you this or that”. I encourage rewarding good behavior, but it should be used in the instance of “after the fact” when you commend good behavior that has already happened, not begging for good behavior to happen. Now, as the parent, you have to use common sense. If you go to the store right at naptime or when your child is getting hungry, you are setting yourself up for rough time. It isn’t fair to your child to have high expectations when you don’t help them, help themselves. A tired and/or hungry child is a meltdown waiting to happen. Young children don’t have the emotional or physical stamina to overcome extreme circumstances. So be smart mom and think through what state your child is in physically before you ask them to make good choices with their manners. Just don’t use that as the same excuse every day!
Playground manners may sound like a silly idea in theory but think about how you and your children feel when another child at the playground is being rude or a bully. You should talk about that with your child. Playground manners are very different from library manners but important just the same. Most importantly should be to listen to mom or dad’s voice. Nowadays, safety has to be a high priority and listening to mom or dad when they call is a must. Another thing to teach your child is to be kind to others. The tried and true “Golden Rule” works today as much as it did when we were little. Remind your child if they don’t want to be pushed down or have someone cut in line in front of them then don’t do it to others. Remember that how your child acts is a reflection of you.
My name is Jamie. I am married to my best friend, who also happens to be an active duty Marine. I am a stay-at-home mom of three kids: Abigail is 7, Peyton is 5 and Preston is almost 9 months old. I am not a perfect mom, nor do I have perfect children but I work hard at giving them life tools to make the right choices. With God’s help, they will grow to be what today’s society considers “good kids”. It is not my goal to have good kids according to the standards of the general public but according to the standards that we have chosen to follow as a family and what we feel pleases God.