How to Grow Respectful Kids in 2019
"Your kids are so polite!" I love hearing this, and luckily I get to hear it often. My three sons are and....at least in public are always very polite, and our students at our Academy are always very polite in class.
As a result we often get asked "how do you do it!". So we decided to break down a few simple steps to help anyone who wants to help their kids increase their manners, self-respect, and respect for others!
Step One: "Monkey See....Monkey Do"
1) Teaching your kids Respect for self, and others starts with the Parents example. You have a great opportunity to teach your child, simply through your example. "Would you mind picking that up, ok?" can be replaced with "Pick up your shoes on the steps, and put them in your room now....please." Once the job is done, a simple "Thank you!" will go a long way.
In fact the number of please, thank you's, yes sir, and yes mam's, your kids hear you say to the people you interact with each day from the house, to the grocery store, to the school to the bank, and so on directly correlate with the number of respectful comments they are more likely to make!
2) Practice Makes Permanent: Create opportunities for your child to practice good manners. Ask them to hand you things, let them pay at the store, have them ask for help at the store finding a size, let them ask the scoutmaster a question after the meeting, have them practice bowing and shaking other students hand before and after karate class, the list goes on. Each handshake, thank you, and high five is a step closer to a more respectful, grateful, and outgoing kid.
3) The Seeds that get watered.....Grow: Catch your child being Good! "You had great manners at Church today." "Your Teacher told me you were so polite at the field trip." Highlight the victories, instill the idea that your child is polite and respectful. Help them develop that identity, and they will live into it!
4) Consistency is King: Every time we have a chance for manners.....we use them. When they forget, remind your child what we should say, how we should act, and what the expectation is. Have them correct their mistake, calmly and without yelling. A quiet "remember your manners when the waiter fills your glass." or quiet "what do you say?" when someone is handing them something, helps remind your child to use courtesy and respect every chance they get. It will seem like thats all your doing at first, but stay the course and be consistent. You want have to remind your child for long, they will get it sooner Tham you think.
5) Birds of a Feather: Surround you child with kids who use manners, and show respect and it will rub off on them! Martial Arts Academies are a great place to find this because respect is built into the culture of the dojo and its students!
The bottom line is make manners a priority and they will improve. Model the desired behavior, be consistent, find opportunities to practice, praise, and repeat, and find peers for your child who have the qualities you are working so hard to instill in yours!
Thank you for Reading!
-Joshua Page, Hickory Academy of Martial Arts
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