"Mommy, am I allowed to have a little snack? Like maybe a pumpkin cookie?"
I tell him of course he can. As he lifts a cookie from the tin, he blows my mind with his next words.
"I really like these cookies. They taste yummy. Thank you, Mommy, for making them."
Isn't that just the best? Completely organic, non-prompted expression of gratitude. This doesn't seem to happen often in our house, so it stood out and truly made my day. (Mommy may be feeling a little under-appreciated lately. Hmmm.)
How can we foster good manners in our kids? Most importantly, I think, by modelling them ourselves. Kids learn from observing us in our interactions with them and with others. So we need to remember to use our pleases and thank yous too. When you ask your child to help you with something, say please. When they do help you, say thank you. Notice the positive interactions they have with others (helpful, kind, gentle, etc.) and acknowledge them with verbal appreciation. All of these will help to reinforce the polite behaviours we hope to nurture in our kids.
And small things that we do everyday can influence them when we least notice it. Hold the door for a lady with a stroller. Hold the elevator for whomever. Smile at a stranger. Let someone merge into traffic. All of these things will be noticed, and our actions speak louder than our words. We can lecture about good manners as much as we want, but if we don't display those manners and kindnesses ourselves, our lectures simply won't stick!
Thank you for reading :)