As much as I try to stay on my etiquette toes, sometimes I think about parents who are trying to impart these gracious manners to their children and wonder how they do it all!  Here are a few tips on what Emily Post calls “Smart Teaching Tactics:”

Sassy Little Girl with hands on hips

Turn manners into a game!  Kids love games and they can be so helpful in teaching sharing and cooperation.  Think about using your child’s pretend time to infuse manners: a game of “house” can include setting the table, saying please and thank you.  Dolls can be used to make introductions.

Signals:  Use this opportunity to develop what Ms. Post calls “secret codes” with children like putting your finger to your lips for quiet down.  Kids will respond more when they’ve had a hand in creating the signals.

Role-Playing: Practice situations with your children to help them develop appropriate responses.  This can also help them understand how the other person in any given situation might feel as well.  One of my favorite examples of role playing is Mindy Lockard’s gift opening dress rehearsal with her adorable girls Elle and Maggie!

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