Keeping it real about our kids is one of the ways we connect as parents, am I right? So let me be real when I say our kids are not always the little sweeties our Instagram accounts would have them appear to be.
Sometimes our little ones test our patience by acting out, being rude or inappropriate, or straight up disobeying. As parents, it's on us to make sure we nip certain behaviors in the bud, and to teach our little ones what's appropriate before it becomes an issue. So in the spirit of keeping it real, we're going to do a little series of manners and behaviors that we should be working on with our littles. Post #1 is the top 10 for manners--the basics of behaving:
Maileg Safari Friends Plush Toy- Hippo
This single word is one every parent wants their child to have down, no matter what, in every setting, and ironically the one that we are face palming every time our kid doesn't do. Our littles should be saying please when they want a snack, are asked a question, or are petitioning you for a trip to Disney World. Pretty easy way to teach this one: "What do you say?" After a couple of guesses, they'll get it right!
This phrase is another staple. Let's do our best to teach our kids to be thankful when others help them, when they receive a gift, or when you dish up their food for them. Saying thanks when you get a sticker at the grocery store is just as important as when you hand your little guy his pack of fruit snacks!
Keeping quiet and avoiding conversation is rude, and makes others think that we are disrespectful. Saying, "hi" is easy, quick, and important. You don't have to talk to everyone you see, but when friends come up to you at the park or the cashier says, "Hi!" it's nice for us to respond. Teach this one by doing your best to greet others.
It's also important to acknowledge others when we are leaving, and one of the cutest things we see is when our littles learn to wave, "Bye, bye!" We should keep that momentum going with saying, "see ya!" Whether it's the end of the school day, going out to play, or to daddy when he heads to work, our kids should be capable of a quick TTFN (ta ta for now!).
Similar to numero uno, this is the good manners version of, "sure" or "yeah." Growing up my mom would wait for us to say it anytime she offered us something (usually to eat). To this day, it is still weird to me when my husband says, "Uhhhhh, sure." Let's just say I plan on making sure our kids respond with a polite, "yes, please," anytime they are offered something!
No, Thank You
This could be overkill, but our babes should be able to answer with appreciation, while still declining an offer. In short, "nope" or a head shake is not always appropriate. Trying your best to make sure they understand why they should be grateful that someone asked, even if they don't want it can be a little tough, but they'll get it if we work on it with them!
Learning when to apologize to others is an essential for well-mannered kids. My son still follows up every, "SORRY," with a little kiss to whomever he slighted, and I think it's the cutest thing. Whether or not his friends at preschool will love it is to be determined. But our children need to learn how to recognize when they've made mistakes by acknowledging others hurt feelings (or bodies if you're lucky enough to have a biter).
It's not good manners to interrupt when someone is talking on the phone, having a conversation, or giving a presentation. If you need to get someone's attention, a quick, "excuse me," lets mama know you're being respectful while still asking for help. As opposed to screaming at the top of your lungs for apple juice when mom is on the phone with the super helpful cable guy. Not cool, kids. Not. Cool.
I think this one is undervalued, but still important. This is just a good way of acknowledging others around us, and is a simple way to teach our kids to be mindful of how others might be feeling.
Rosie Posie Turban Headwrap - Black Cherry
I Need Help
Every parent of a toddler can relate to this one. If you child is capable of speech, they should be able to ask for help instead of grunting, pointing at their stomach or pulling on your shirt. That is going to get old so, so fast. Plus when your littles aren't with you, it's important for them to be able to ask others without being a total punk. Teaching kids a simple, "I need help," is going to be a game changer. Even if the majority of the time you're hearing it right after your kid uses the bathroom. *sigh* Even if you're a SAHM like me and spend the majority of your time at home, make sure to insist that your children act appropriately around you, their dad, and their siblings and it will pay off! Taking the time to teach our children to be more mindful of things they say and how they act, along with how their actions affect others is so worth the time and effort. And remember, when we're working on manners with our kids, they learn best by example!
Make sure to stay tuned for our two follow-up posts on manners: Manners of our Bodies and Words and Manners when we Play or Spend Time with Others.