Raising polite and considerate individuals is integral to parenting and early education. Instilling manners in preschoolers is more than teaching them to say ‘please’ or ‘thank you.’ It’s about shaping their character and helping them respect and value others. This guide unravels the concept of manners, its pivotal role in a child’s development, and the importance of teaching manners at a preschool age. We provide engaging, entertaining, and educational activities that not only teach essential etiquette to young minds but also anchor these lessons with lifelong memories. Integrating fun with learning ensures that these valuable manners become second nature to our young learners. This guide will make the art of teaching manners a delightful and rewarding journey!
The Importance of Teaching Preschoolers Manners
Manners, at their core, are expressions of consideration and respect towards others. They aren’t just polite words like ‘please’ or ‘thank you,’ but also actions like sharing, listening, and patience.
Importance of Manners
This is more than just moral guidance. Teaching manners to children contributes to building their character, improves their social interactions, and boosts their self-esteem. Manners help children understand how their actions can affect others and their surroundings, developing empathy and kindness within them.
Examples of Good Manners Your Kids Must Learn
From simple actions like saying ‘sorry’ when wrong to showing gratitude and respect towards their elders, there are essential manners all children should learn. By engaging in polite conversation, waiting patiently for their turn, and sharing willingly, children learn to value and respect others’ needs and feelings.
Teaching manners is more than a practice of etiquette; it’s an investment in our children’s cognitive and emotional development.
The Right Age to Start Teaching Manners
Teaching manners can begin as early as toddlerhood; however, the preschool years (ages 3-5) are key. Children are rapidly developing their social and cognitive skills at this stage, making it the perfect time to introduce the basic concepts of respect and courtesy. Their understanding and memory skills flourish around this age, allowing them to grasp, remember, and practice good etiquette. Infusing manners during these formative years ensures they become normal in their everyday behavior and responses. But remember, learning is an ongoing process, and consistent nurturing of these behaviors is essential.
What Can Parents Do to Teach Good Manners to Children?
As parents, you play a crucial role in setting the groundwork for your child’s behavior, particularly when it comes to manners. Here are key strategies to ensure your child embraces and understands the importance of courteous behavior and respectful interactions.
Children imitate what they see. You, as parents, are their first teachers.
- Exhibit Polite Behavior: Make sure you demonstrate polite, respectful, and considerate behavior in your everyday actions, from saying ‘thank you’ to the cashier to helping a stranger pick up dropped items.
- Engage in Respectful Conversations: Show your kids how to listen attentively and respond thoughtfully in conversations. Let them observe you giving others a chance to speak, not interrupting, and using polite language.
Activities juxtapose learning with fun and are effective in growing their understanding of manners. Engage your child in exercises and games that stress courteous behavior. The next segment delves into specific activities that can help you in this endeavor.
Manners Activities for Preschoolers
Now comes the exciting part – engaging your preschoolers with delightful activities that make learning manners enjoyable. These creative exercises aim to embed etiquette values in a fun and interactive way. Let’s dive into a world where learning meets play!
Fun Activity 1: Manners Match-up Game
Let the games begin! Our first activity, the Manners Match-up Game, will not only keep your preschoolers entertained but will also turn the learning of manners into a delightful experience.
Setting Up The Game:
Here’s how to prepare for the game:
- Draw two sets of cards using small note cards. One set will have hypothetical scenarios requiring manners, and the other will have appropriate responses.
- Ensure that the scenarios and responses match correctly. For instance, a scenario card might read, “You received a gift. What do you say?” and its corresponding response card should have the answer, “Thank you.”
- Mix up all the cards and lay them face down on the table in a grid.
How to Play:
Now that you’re all set, here’s how to play:
- The first player turns over any two cards, with everyone able to see them.
- If the scenario card matches the correct manners card, the player keeps the pair and earns a point. The player can then take another turn.
- If the cards don’t match, they are turned back over, and it’s the next player’s turn.
- The game continues until all the pairs have been matched up. The player with the most points wins.
Through this interactive game, your preschoolers will actively recall and associate manners with their applicable settings. It’s a fun learning journey they will look forward to and enjoy!
Fun Activity 2: Role-Play the Right Way
Role-playing is an engaging and interactive method for teaching kids about manners. This child-friendly approach allows them to learn in an environment they are naturally comfortable in—play. With role-play games, preschoolers can practice their manners in imagined situations, making transferring these skills to real-life easier.
Firstly, let’s understand why role-play games work. Children love to copy adults and their behaviors. Therefore, when they transform into characters that exhibit polite behavior, they are more likely to imitate and internalize these manners. Role-play games offer scenarios wherein children can practice phrases like “please,” “thank you,” and “excuse me,” as well as etiquette norms like helping others, sharing toys, and using kind words.
- Pretend Visit to a Friend’s House: Kids learn to knock or ring the doorbell politely, exchange greetings, offer help, share toys, and express gratitude before leaving.
- Pretend Dinner Party: Provides opportunities to learn table manners like washing hands before meals, using utensils properly, practicing not interrupting others while they’re talking, and thanking the host.
- Pretend Classroom Environment: Encourages children to learn to take turns, listen while others speak, raise hands before speaking, and respect classmates and teachers.
Fun Activity 3: Manners Storytime
The power of stories lies in their ability to engage children emotionally, making learning seamless and enjoyable. Through the narrative and characters, preschoolers witness real-life scenarios where these manners are employed, providing them with practical examples.
Top Story Books Teaching Manners
Here are some much-loved storybooks that beautifully encapsulate lessons on manners:
- “Please, Mr. Panda” by Steve Antony: The panda’s journey in distributing doughnuts teaches kids the magic of ‘please’ and ‘thank you.’
- “Do Unto Otters: A Book About Manners” by Laurie Keller Highlights the rule of treating others the way you would like to be treated.
- “The Berenstain Bears Forget Their Manners” by Stan and Jan Berenstain: An engaging story about family manners.
- “Suppose You Meet a Dinosaur: A First Book of Manners” by Judy Sierra: This book encourages children to practice manners with a friendly dinosaur.
- “Excuse Me!: A Little Book of Manners” by Karen Katz: A delightful primer on courtesy in common situations for the youngest readers.
How to Use These Books Effectively
Narrate the stories with enthusiasm to capture your child’s attention. Engage in discussions about characters’ actions and if they were polite. Ask what they would do differently and reinforce proper etiquette, making reading a fun-filled manner learning activity.
Fun Activity 4: The Please and Thank You Song
Introduce your little ones to the melodic side of manners with “The Please and Thank You Song!” Combining catchy tunes with lessons in politeness makes learning fun and memorable for preschoolers.
‘The Please and Thank You Song’ weaves essential phrases into an earworm that kids will love singing along to. By incorporating simple dance steps or gestures, this activity becomes an interactive and enjoyable way to reinforce essential good manners.
Fun Activity 5: Manners-themed Crafts
Crafts are a hands-on, engaging way to teach manners to young children. By participating in manners-themed crafts, preschoolers can create visual reminders of polite behaviors, helping to reinforce the importance of good manners in their everyday lives.
Why Manners-themed Crafts Work:
- Crafts offer a creative, enjoyable experience for children.
- They involve visual and tactile learning, making it easier for kids to retain information.
- Visual reminders created through crafts can serve as constant reinforcements of good manners at home or in the classroom.
Manners-themed Crafts Ideas:
- Manners Reminder Chart: Create a manners chart from construction paper or a poster board where children can draw or paste pictures representing different manners (saying “please,” “thank you,” etc.). Hang it in a common area as a gentle reminder of good manners.
- Thank You Cards: Decorate handmade thank-you cards with drawings, stickers, and fancy lettering. Kids write personal notes to express gratitude to friends and family. This craft fosters appreciation and the habit of saying “thank you.”
- Table Manners Placemat: Help kids make personalized placemats, illustrating table manners like using utensils correctly, chewing with closed mouths, and keeping elbows off the table. Cover with contact paper and use during mealtime.
- Kindness Jar: Use an empty jar or decorated container for kids to collect pebbles or small tokens every time they demonstrate a kind act or good manner. This activity reinforces kind behavior and manners through a reward system.
- Teaching Manners Through Art: Engage kids in an art project that emphasizes mannerism. That could be politely asking someone to pass the paint or brushes, learning to take turns, and cheering on each other’s artwork.
Wrapping It Up
It’s critical to underscore the importance and multi-level benefits of teaching manners during preschool. Doing so fosters empathy, instills respect and courtesy, and builds a foundation for productive social interactions and relationships.
Remember, lessons of good manners start at home but should be consistently reinforced, especially if your child is stepping into preschool. As parents, one must ensure that the preschool values and integrates the teaching of manners in daily activities. As an institution committed to nurturing well-mannered and considerate children, Baby Steps Daycare seamlessly incorporates lessons of courtesy. If you’re exploring options that prioritize manners as part of their curriculum, contact Baby Steps Daycare. We’re here to help your child take ‘baby steps’ toward a respectful, refined future.