There is something very comforting to children about knowing how to respond appropriately in different social situations. Occasionally they see other children respond in ways that do not feel “right,” yet are often unable to pinpoint exactly what it is about certain responses that make them feel uncomfortable and are unsure of how to react themselves. It is for this reason that I am a huge fan of explicitly teaching children a variety of social and emotional skills. One very important area of a child’s social development is manners.
We, as parents, are lucky that there are some really fun and playful ways to explore manners with children. One of our favorite games has been the Good Manners Flash Cards by eeBoo. Each card presents a different social situation on one side and offers a polite way to respond on the other. When the girls were younger, we would read them together and discuss the possible outcomes. And just the other morning, we discovered that the girls were engaged in their own game and having a lively discussion on the various strategies for dealing with the circumstances presented… It was quite a delight to quietly listen in as they took the lead!