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3 Ways to Keep Manners Alive With Preschoolers

by Joe Lawrence | March 29th, 2021 | Preschool, Social

child watching (400x400)Are manners dying off in today’s society? Are we as parents doing our part to keep them alive? According to most studies manners are dying and we are not holding our own as parents. Here are three ways to reverse this tide.

I never thought I would consider having a toddler and preschooler in the house at the same time as a blessing. They are both very demanding of our time and have to be taught everything. Just when I thought we were past some foundational stuff with my preschooler, I discover we still have a lot to do. Manners are one of these things.

My wife and I have really been pushing the ‘please’ and ‘thank you’ with our two-year old, but realized we have let it slip with the preschooler. What is worse is that I have not been good at modeling this behavior in my own home.

Recently out of the Americans polled, 70% state that we are ruder to service workers than we were 10 years ago. I see this when I go out to eat. I can recall as a child seeing my parents be extremely courteous to our wait staff. In fact, I used to think my parents liked them better than me. But after much reflection and paying attention to my own interactions in public, I realize I am not holding my own and I have a very attentive audience with me.

I have figured out three ways to overcome this. First, is to model proper manners in my home. Instead of going through the motions and forcing my children to say ‘please,’ thank you’ and etc., I need to lead by example. If I am modeling this behavior with them and my wife, they will see this too.

Next, while out in public do the same thing. Ensure I make that wait staff or grocery clerk feel appreciated. The way my parents were is so ingrained in my head, it is actually painful to try and be rude to a waiter who is not performing. That is because of how my parents conditioned me. Although I am not modeling rudeness, I am not exceeding today’s social norm.

The last way to reverse the rudeness is to perform random acts of kindness. Doing something like buying the drink for the person behind me at Starbucks or secretly paying for the meal of a military, fire or police officer go a long way. Recently, I was with my daughter when a fireman was collecting money for a charity. I gave him some money and thanked him for keeping us safe. When we saw another later on, my daughter asked if she could do the same.

We do not have to be rude. In a world of reality TV divas and cell phones there is still room for simple manners. We can let them die or teach our children to how to keep them alive for another generation.

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