8 secrets to raising a well-behaved child

Follow these top tips to turn your mischievous munchkin into a courteous cutie!

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As parents, we dream of having kids who are polite and genteel in nature. We harbour hopes that they will greet their elders with a smile and pepper their requests with “please” and “thank you” without being prompted. After all, your kiddo’s behaviour is proof of your parental skills, isn’t it?

While it’s true that some children might be more sensitive to the needs of others, many other’s don’t have it built in their DNA. So, it is a parent’s responsibility to nurture your brood into courteous and friendly individuals. Possessing good manners can benefit your child many ways:

*He will find it easier to make more friends. With good social graces, your child will naturally appear to be more friendly and inviting to his peers. An ill-mannered child is a turn-off for parents and kids alike.

*It’s like a lifelong habit. Once you have succeeded in teaching your pee wee about kindness to others, it is something that will stick with him throughout his life.

Your toddler will likely parrot your behaviour, so lead by example. If you don’t actively use words like “please” and “thank you”, it is unlikely your kid will, too. Similarly, if you don’t greet your parents when you see them, your child will follow suit.

Your toddler will likely parrot your behaviour so take heed and lead by example. If you don’t actively use words like “please” and “thank you”, it is unlikely your kid will, too.

There isn’t a “right age” to start schooling your peewee on good social etiquette. Instead, the sooner you start teaching them, the easier it will be for him to grasp the concept. With the Christmas holidays just around the corner, there will be plenty of opportunities for them to hone their skills, too. Here are simple strategies to help you groom your young ‘un into considerate little individuals.

1) Introduce the magic words

Your tot learns best through play, so use puppets and stuffed toys to create scenarios where they use polite phrases like, “may I”, “please”, “thank you” and “you’re welcome”. It will take a while for your child to get the hang of it, so be patient and keep trying. At 18 months, your child may be able to say the words, but won’t necessarily understand the meaning behind them until he’s about 3 years old.

2) Teach him to apologise

Guilt and shame are probably two of the strongest emotions that keep your child from admitting his mistakes. Reassure him that it is perfectly acceptable to make mistakes, but it’s more important to own up to it and apologise. Demonstrate that he should say, “excuse me” when he burps or bump into others and, “I’m sorry” when he makes a mistake or misbehaves.

Six more useful tips coming right up…