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How to Teach Your Children Manners

Updated on September 27, 2013
Expression credited to a photo on the Ellen.com website.
Expression credited to a photo on the Ellen.com website. | Source
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Set The Ground Rules Before You Leave Home

A discipline system needs to be established at home and enforced at home if the child misbehaves in public. For example, you may use a time out corner or take away a privilege as a form of discipline. Discipline can be very frustrating and tedious. You CANNOT allow the child to wear you down, make you angry, or cause you to give in. Patience and persistence will teach your child that you are in charge. When you go out in public, make sure your child understands that discipline will be enforced upon returning home, as a consequence of poor public behavior. The best way to make sure your child understands this (so you don't have to threaten your child on every trip) is to FOLLOW THROUGH! It will only take once or twice for your child to realize that there WILL be consequences if he or she misbehaves. Go over the rules of being in public (inside voices, sit properly, wear seat belt, etc) before you leave home. Then, ask them to look at you and repeat the rules back to you.

Keep The Child's Schedule as Normal as Possible

Hungry children are grumpy children, as are tired children. It is extremely important to keep children on a regimented schedule. It provides balance and security. Therefore, do the best you can to eat out during the child’s normal meal time. Also, it is wise to always carry a light healthy snack for your child. Peanut butter crackers, raisins, and cheerios are good healthy snack choices. You will find this to be beneficial whether you are in a restaurant, shopping, or in another public place.

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A Distracted Child Doesn't Misbehave

Keep the child or children busy with activities that are done at the table. The parents or caretaker must be involved in the activities also. Make it a family affair, and give lots of praise. It is recommended that the child draw or color a specific picture, possibly a family picture of everyone behaving at the table. Educational games, like math questions, counting together, or a spelling bee will pass the time until the food arrives. Behavior quizzes can be fun too. You can do this simply by asking your child to name foods you eat with your fingers, and foods you eat with a fork or spoon. Always give them praise when they give a correct answer. Reading a book is usually a big hit, as well.

Everyone Enjoys Rewards And Appreciation

Put a reward system in place. For example, desert will be ordered for everyone who behaves. Or the most well behaved person at the table has the choice of which movie to watch at home. I can’t stress enough the importance of praise and acceptance in a child’s life. Be sure to reward good behavior and punish for bad behavior. Be consistent, and give out an abundance of hugs and kisses!

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And as a Last Resort...

Get your food to go, and remove the child from the restaurant (crying infant). Infants have difficulty communicating their grievances. Your baby could be teething, have a tummy ache, or may be coming down with a cold. If you have exhausted all your normal ways of making your baby happy, it is time to go. Don't wait any longer than 5 minutes, however. Other patrons are paying good money to have an enjoyable meal. It is disrespectful and selfish to ruin their evening. Older children should be fine once the first 4 rules have been established.

This is a great video to watch about table manners!

Make bath time FUN!

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Your child is a person, just like you. He or she has a personality, feelings, desires, and moods. In any relationship respect must be earned, so respect your child in order to get respect. You can do this by paying attention to them, talking with them (not at them), and acknowledge their feelings whether you agree or not. For example, if you child is upset because he or she has to take a bath, explain that you "understand" that he or she is upset. Being upset is a feeling, and feelings are okay to have. That shouldn't change the fact that you, the parent, are in control and have decided its time for him or her to bathe.

Explain that it is bath time, he or she needs a bath to be clean and germ free, and ask the child to create a new water game or song to sing in the tub. Then immediately go draw a bath for your child. This is a non-negotiable demand, and the child needs to know that. You can, however, empathize with your child while teaching your little one a very important life lesson; that nobody gets everything they want when they want it.

As always, I certainly hope this was helpful. Happy parenting! Its the most important job in the world!

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    • Mmargie1966 profile image
      Author

      Mmargie1966 5 years ago from Gainesville, GA

      He is perfectly capable of behaving. It takes extra time and effort, however. It can truly be exhausting, I know. Have you ever watched American Nanny? Deborah Tillman has dealt with children of all types and she is awesome! She is a professional with a Masters Degree in Child Psychology. She's your lady for answers!

    • Missing Link profile image

      Missing Link 5 years ago from Oregon

      Our three year old has Autistic Spectrum Disorder. He is rarely as good as we would like when we dine out. Keeping him distracted, as you mention, works sometimes. Due to him being "special" in some ways, the best answer we have found is just not to dine out very often - yes it's that bad. Thanks much!

    • Mmargie1966 profile image
      Author

      Mmargie1966 5 years ago from Gainesville, GA

      Thank you so much, Happyboomernurse! I'm touched that you enjoyed my hub. I thought your question was NEEDED, given the fact that good parenting seems to be diminishing. Thank YOU for posting the question.

    • Happyboomernurse profile image

      Gail Sobotkin 5 years ago from South Carolina

      Welcome to Hub Pages MMargie1966,

      I'm so glad you decided to answer my question and love the positive slant you gave to this excellent article. You listed concrete, easy to emulate examples of how parents can help their children be models of good behavior while dining out and your article reflects the fact that such behavior isn't natural for children, but it is achievable through advance preparation, consistent application of rules and discipline, and lots of loving encouragement and praise.

      I particularly liked rule #5. Many babies do well in restaurants but there are times when they may cry for reasons that aren't readily discernable. At such times the parent who removes the baby from the restaurant is modeling the best of restaurant etiquette for any other parents that may be dining out.

      The parent will also earn the respect, admiration and gratitude of diners who don't have children.

      Voted up across the board.

      Good luck in the contest.

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