We have spoken about the importance of manners in previous posts, especially for older children, but at what point can we really start teaching our little ones the intricacies of manner culture? Of course we lead by example and aim to show courtesy in our behavior in front of children, which of course does ingrain in their young minds, but what and when can we actively work on these skills. The following game, which we call ‘gifts’ easily teaches children these essential life skills to children from as young as 18 months old, teaching them in a fun way, to take turns, to say please and thank you.
To start the game fill a container, or box with some small toys or household items. Ask the child if they would then like to play a game. Explain that you and the child will take ‘turns’. Explain how turns work. ‘First it will be your turn to have a gift, and then it will my turn to have a gift. Encourage the child to say the words, “Please may I have a gift?”. When the child says the words, immediately give him or her of the items. Then it will be your turn. Explain, ‘ Now it is my turn to have a gift, please may I have a gift?’. Get the child to give you one of the items. When they give you the item, thank them for the gift and describe the object. For example stating, “Oh thank you! It is a ball!”. On the child’s next turn, encourage the child to also say ‘Thank you’ and describe the item they have been given. During the game emphasize the word turn so that he or she begins to understand the concept. Continue playing until all the ‘gifts’ are gone.
Written by: Bianca Steyn
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