How to Teach Manners While Having Fun
By Nuria Santamaría Wolfe
Manners matter. We all want our kids to be well-mannered citizens of the world and teaching them to be so shouldn’t have to be boring.
While manners include everything from saying “please” and “thank you” to offering compliments and exhibiting proper etiquette at the dinner table, the easiest place to start teaching manners is with greetings.
Proper greetings like “Hello” or “Good morning” are the first step for your little one to establish a relationship with a new friend or to make a great first impression with her teacher at the start of the school day.
Here are a few tips to help your little ones practice greeting phrases:
- Use Songs: There are so many bilingual songs to choose from but our favorite is the very simple but very fun “Hello, good morning”. Watch our Little Chickies greet each other and greet the day in our catchy sing-along video here, and check out our YouTube education channel for more tunes.
They can learn these phrases in English and in Spanish…so they can greet twice as many friends!
A simple “hello” in someone’s native language goes a long way to establish a connection with someone. Nothing makes a person smile more than knowing that a stranger is trying to speak to them in their own language. Learning to say “hello” in multiple languages can be fun!
Sing in English. Sing in Spanish. Sing in Spanglish!
Sing every morning to salute the day with joy and to establish the behavior.
- Role Play: Use your child’s favorite stuffed animals and throw a pretend tea party or birthday party. Ask your child to greet each animal as he/she arrives at the party with phrases like “Hello” and “Thanks for coming.”
You can respond with your most sweet bunny voice with “Hi. How are you?.” and with the most majestic wave of your elephant trunk with a “Nice to see you”.
Act out shaking hands, paws, trunks, etc. and giving snuggly hugs. Switch roles to allow your child to role play as his/her favorite lovie.
Soon your little one will get the hang of it and start to realize how nice it feels to greet and be greeted with a warm welcome.
As you try these creative ways to help your little one learn the concept of greetings, don’t forget your own manners and express gratitude for their effort. “Thank you” and “Gracias” are among the sweetest words they can hear from you.
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