Although it may come naturally to us now, it’s not always easy teaching kids their p’s and q’s and you have to bear in mind that being an authoritarian about it may backfire. Instead, try out our tips below:
1. Be a good role model
It goes without saying that your child will mimic whatever it is you do. So, remember to always say ‘please’ and ‘thank you’ yourself – especially to your child and point out what it is you’re doing so that it will establish an automatic response pattern in their minds.
2. Praise them
You have to understand that it will take awhile for them to get ahold of good manners. Instead of berating them each time they don’t say their p’s and q’s – remind them gently and praise them when they do get it right. Positive reinforcements will always yield better results than negative ones as they’ll feel good about themselves.
3. Play a game
This falls partly under positive reinforcements as well – but why not make it fun? Create a little scoreboard and tell your child that each time they say their p’s and q’s, you’ll add a point in their favour, and when they don’t – you’ll dock a point. Once they’ve accumulated a certain number of points, they’ll get a treat – be it a trip to Disneyland or even a trip out to get ice cream.
4. Make a connection
Point out to your child as well how he or she feels when someone else says ‘please’ or ‘thank you’ to them and ascertain that it makes them feel good. Soon enough, they’ll make that connection all by themselves and start practising.
5. Be appreciative
Often, getting your child to say ‘thank you’ will be harder than ‘please’ because they can lose focus once they’ve gotten what they’ve asked for nicely. So, foster a stronger positive connection between saying ‘thank you’ and feeling appreciated. Instead of ‘begging’ them to do things by saying, “Please put your toys away”, say, “You put your toys away, thank you!”