Preparing Children for Starting BIG School...Mind Your Manners!
Good manners can help children with the transition into school where they can often find themselves one of thirty other new children in the class. Patience can be a challenge for many and often results in the teacher being patted and tapped by persistent little hands as they all demand an immediate response! Polite behaviour can help children form friendships and avoid conflict and therefore can help their social development.
Pre-school training early is the key - by starting with the basics we can even encourage and teach toddlers to use simple manners such as saying ‘please’ and ‘thank you’. As they grow up help them to understand it’s not okay to interrupt but then ensuring that you follow up by thanking them for their patience and rewarding them with your undivided attention will really help. By teaching them to say ‘excuse me’, share and not interrupt reminds them that other people matter and deserve respect.
Another great way to draw their attention to their behaviour is to make them aware of others showing good manners, people they can identify with and copy – after all kids love to imitate, especially their mum and dad.
Sharing is a learnt behaviour as children’s social, emotional and cognitive development increases. A child does not truly understand the concept of sharing until about age 5 and as parents it’s our job to facilitate the learning from the toddler stage. Research proves that giving something away can actually make toddlers happier.
Top tips on encouraging your child to share
· Make it fun
Play cooperative games together where the focus is teamwork rather than competition which involves winning. Try completing jigsaws taking turns to add pieces, shares projects like putting away the shopping together.
· Don’t force a child to share
Respect your child need to keep some possessions to themselves as they develop a sense of what it means to own something. Instead, create attitudes and an environment that encourage your child to want to share. As they mature they will learn that sharing with friends is much more fun than isolation.
· Model generosity and set a good example
The most effective way a 3-4 year old can learn how to share is by watching those around them give and take, compromise and share. Talk about sharing in your daily routine, sharing a story, a feeling, an idea…
· Model strategies for problem solving
Don’t be too eager to step in and sort issues. Teaching children ways to handle situations has by far most lasting value. Using a timer can be an efficient way of encouraging turn taking. Help them develop the vocabulary to discuss how they feel. Show them how to communicate their needs ‘…ask Tommy if you can have the next turn’
Praise the positives and remember practise makes perfect!
Pre-school training early on…and reinforcing…again and again…a few polite behaviours not only insures your child will make friends but we’re in no doubt that it can really help them to feel a lot happier and more confident in their new school environment.