Let's practice the behaviors that make you most proud. This is such a fun activity for adults and kids alike!
Do you mind seeing your kids rip paper off presents one after another without so much as a thank you, or do you dream of the cute child you know your little one to be, who is usually so loving and thankful. Here's the best tip of all . . . practice the behavior you want to see prior to the event. Here's how . . .
Wrap a bunch of boxes and placed them under the tree. Some should be empty, some contain a little piece of candy and some contain Brussel Spouts or something else your child doesn't like much. Explain to the kids that much like Christmas day, you never know what you are going to get, but it's their reaction you are practicing. Then take a box you have a sprout in and pretend you are accepting it from Uncle Zeek or Aunt Sally. Open the box, show delight on your face, and pretend to thank Uncle Zeek, maybe with a pretend hug if that's the behavior you would like your children display. Be as dramatic and fun as you like. They will laugh at your ridiculous acting and be eager to try.
Now it's their go to mimic your present unwrapping behavior. No matter what's in the box, encourage a big thank you, a smile, maybe a look of surprise. Explain that you are looking to see that wonderful behavior all through the Holiday's whenever they receive a gift. It's a complete game changer!
Sometimes dinner can be hard for little ones, so make sure it's fun for them too. At HoneyTree, we teach our children how to prepare the table with plastic plates, knives, folks, spoons and drinking cups. They even learn manners! They LOVE being part of something so grown up. Practice laying the table with your children. Maybe they can even design a centerpiece with some spare decoration. Next, practice the behaviors you would like to see at the dinner table at least a couple of times a week leading up to the big day. You can let them know you are practicing for the big family meal. Kids learn quickly how to take turns in conversation, how to unfold their napkins, or how to ask ,"Please may I have some more". They relish the experience. My kids certainly get silly during practice and that's fine but they know what I expect on the big day and they perform beautifully because they also know they will get big hugs and high fives after dinner. They look for me smiling proudly at them and I can see their little faces smile in delight. Also, be sure to let you kids get down from the table when they have finished eating if they ask nicely . Have something ready for them to do independently which will give you a bit of time to enjoy adult company. Most importantly, always praise that good behavior.
What other ideas do you have to teach great manners?