Please and Thank You

Remember, please and thank you these are the magic words, if you want nice things to happen it’s the words that must be heard… Anyone else know this kids song? Its from Barney.


Well raising our boys with manners, is one of the non-negotiables in our family and in our home.

Simple you may say, or obvious you may think BUT it actually is VERY hard and takes WORK.

We, I think, have pretty awesome boys. They behave well most of the time (the acting out is normally just in the confines of our home when only Carl and I are witness to it), they say their please’s and thank you’s, they listen, and have and show respect for grown ups.

This however does not come easy. It take work, it takes reminding, it takes fighting (sometimes), it take effort. What you put in is what you get out, right. Right. Little people watch and hear everything, this is a fact. Fight me on this and you will go down. The good and the bad, these little creations are take it all in. So when Mom and Dad don’t demonstrate the correct behaviour then you cannot blame the kiddies for not displaying it.

None of this is something that just happens, its starts by doing small things every day which will bring about BIG changes (instilling good habits in our little ones, which they will learn by constant repetition). I look at the some of the kiddies in both boys schools. Simple pleases and thank yous do not form part of their language, and who’s fault is that? The parents. Discipline, respect, educating them starts at home. Its challenging for a teacher to try and rectify bad habits / behaviour in little ones when what they see at home is the complete opposite. I say bad habit because when they’re tiny I don’t feel they can truly understand what good and bad behaviour is, they just replicate what they have seen (its what they’re being taught, remember they see and hear everything).

It makes my heart all warm when the Grandmothers tell me that my boys are so well mannered, even till Joshy who is 21 months old says “Please and Thank you”. Its normal, its natural, its what we should be teaching them.

Here are a few tips to assist in raising politely little poppets and pumpkins:

1.     Good manners are a good habit, it’s a way of life

2.     Your behaviour counts, little ones imitate what we do

3.     Consistency is important, reinforcement of good behaviour is important (its takes time)

4.     Being polite will help your child’s social development, nice people and friendly people want to be around nice people. Simple.

5.     Teach polite words early, start from when they’re babies.

6.     Respect, respect your children and in turn they will respect you. Model this behaviour daily, with your partners, your family, friends, colleagues, the nanny. Everyone.

7.     When they do slip up, correct them politely. No one wants to be shouted at when they forget something, least of all kiddies. Be gentle but reinforce the good behaviour.


How to work on this with your kids:

(Taken from

Thoughtful Toddlers: Ages 1-2

Hello and goodbye. Even before they can speak, encourage your little one to wave hello and goodbye. It’s the first step in teaching her how to recognize and greet people, says Sheryl Eberly, author of 365 Manners Kids Should Know. “One way to practice is to say good morning to each other every day,” she adds. And don’t forget to greet your spouse cheerfully when he / she gets home.

Staying seated while eating. Instead of letting your child wander around the house, take this opportunity to teach him to sit in his booster seat or high chair while he eats, even if it’s just a snack. “At this age children have a short attention span, but ten to 15 minutes strapped in a high chair will give them an important lesson: You sit at the table while you’re eating,” says Parents advisor Jenn Berman, Psy.D., author of SuperBaby: 12 Ways to Give Your Child a Head Start in the First 3 Years. If he starts throwing his / her food, let him / her know there will be consequences. Say, “I guess you’re not hungry anymore. If you toss your food again, snacktime will be over.” You can also take this time to begin working with him / her on using a fork and spoon, though most children won’t master that until they’re close to 3.

Using the magic words. Your toddler won’t fully grasp the meaning of “please” and “thank you” until she’s older, but get her in the habit of using them now. A fun way is to use the baby signs: For “please,” outstretch your hand and rub it in a circular motion over your heart. To say “thank you,” put your open hand on your lip then bring it forward toward the person you’re thanking.

Polite Preschoolers: Ages 3-4

This is the prime time for teaching hard-core manners, since children this age love to master new “big kid” skills. But it’s still a gradual process that will take many reminders from you.

Following simple table etiquette. By the time he / she turns 3, your child should be able to eat with utensils. Now is also the time to start enforcing basics: Use your serviette (not your sleeve!), chew with your mouth closed, don’t talk with your mouth full, sit up straight, and ask to be excused when you’re finished. Focus on one or two behaviours at a time so your child doesn’t get overwhelmed, and try to make it fun. Have a “good manners” tea party and use a British accent. And it’s okay to let things go sometimes, says June Hines Moore, author of You Can Raise a Well-Mannered Child. “Don’t be the manners police, fussing at your children constantly.”

Expanding his polite vocabulary. Work with your child to say “may I please.” Give him / her a do-over when he / she forgets, so he / she has a chance to correct themself. Also introduce the all-important “excuse me.” They should say it after burping or passing gas, as well as when they needs your attention. When they goes to a playdate make sure they know to thank the host for having them, and to thank friends for coming when they visit your house.

Being kind. This means taking turns, not grabbing, and saying she’s sorry if they hurts someone. When a conflict arises, avoid vague reminders like “Be nice.” Instead, talk to your child about what to do, so they’ll eventually have the words to work things out on her own: “It looks like Ruby isn’t done with that doll. Let’s talk to Ruby. Ruby, when you’re done with the toy, can Ava have a turn?” If your kid needs to apologize, ask them to say what they’re sorry for, and talk about what they can do to help — whether it’s giving back a toy or getting their friend a play bandage.

Courteous Kindergartners: Ages 5-6

These children love to show off their good manners in school, but they’re not always as well-behaved at home after a long day. They have a tendency to fall apart under pressure: for instance, at Thanksgiving dinner or when meeting your boss.

Looking adults in the eye and responding when spoken to. These are essential social skills, Eberly says, but even the most confident kids have a tendency to duck their head and mumble when speaking to a grown-up. Turn it into a game by asking your child to check the color of a person’s eyes and report back to you. Then practice meeting and greeting. Demonstrate how to shake hands firmly and repeat back the person’s name: “Hello, Mrs. Fisher.”

Not interrupting. The good news is that 5- and 6-year-olds finally have the ability to wait for their turn to talk, says Jodi Stoner, Ph.D., a clinical psychotherapist and coauthor of Good Manners Are Contagious. You just have to teach them. Come up with a secret word or sign, or try a wink, that you’ll use to remind your kid to wait when you’re talking to someone. Role-play outside the heat of the moment to help him recognize when he’s interrupting. When he does wait patiently, make sure he gets your attention soon. “Don’t make him wait so long that it’s disrespectful to him,” Dr. Stoner says. “A child this age can’t sit tight for more than five minutes — especially if he’s waiting for you to be done with his sibling. Make sure you show him you notice by glancing over at him with a smile that says you acknowledge he’s doing the right thing.”

More sophisticated table manners. Start enforcing more nuanced etiquette, such as no elbows on the table and saying “please pass” instead of reaching. Children this age care about how they compare with their friends and classmates, so point out good-manners moments: “Check out the way Julian put his napkin in his lap without being reminded.”

Socially Graceful Grade-Schoolers: Ages 7-8

Big kids have the capacity to understand how others feel and are concerned about what people think of them. This is when it all should come together.

Work on:

Phone skills. Because we all use cell phones your kid may not get much practice picking up calls, but it still matters. Teach your child how to do this as soon as he can remember a message. When he answers he can simply say “Hello.” If you can’t get to the phone teach him to say “May I tell her who’s calling, please?” or “I’m sorry — my mom’s not available right now. May I take a message?”

Hoping this helps with raising well mannered little ones.

Till Later

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