Kate’s Corner
Aug 27 2014

  The Magic Words

This summer our family spent many days at the Erie County Fair.  A highlight for the little ones was meeting Grandma Rainbow.  Grandma Rainbow is a brightly dressed Fair clown who makes balloon animals and has magic pop-up puppets.  She told stories and held everyone’s complete attention talking with the children and “magically” making her puppets appear.  The first time she popped the magic puppets in and out of their fancy bag, Grandma Rainbow asked the children gathered what the magic words were?  Instant response was:  Abracadabra!

But Grandma Rainbow said that the real magic words were Please and Thank You.  So every time Grandma asked the Magic question, every child responded with the Magic Words Please & Thank You!  There was a lot of giggling and many smiles as each child said good bye to the magic puppets, held their beautiful balloon animal and assured Grandma Rainbow that they would always remember that Please and Thank You are the real magic words.

Polite acts and exchanges start early.

·         Children learn the language and behavior of the adults that care for them; they mimic text and tone.  Say thank you to the baby who hands you a toy.  To continue the play, hold your hand out and say please for the return.  Repeat this over and over.   The youngest baby will respond to respectful and polite exchanges with loved ones.

·         Babies and toddlers are just learning the ways of the world.  Your model of polite exchanges and acts are being observed.  Meal time is perfect to instill polite manners.  Make a habit of polite exchanges between family members (including the youngest).  This is a life skill all children will need.  Talk with each other as you share food.

·         Draw attention to polite acts and exchanges that happen when your older child is playing or interacting with you, a sibling or friend.  Immediately stop a child that becomes verbally or physically disrespectful.  Give them a way to replacedisrespectful acts and words with polite manners.

 A younger brother grabs 4 year old Mary’s toy.  Mary tries to pull it back.  Model:  Please give my toy back (give baby another toy).  Thank you when toy is returned.

·         Overuse and exaggerate polite exchanges and manners.  The younger the child, the more they need to hear and see adults be polite and kind.  Listen and watch for them to follow your lead.  Older children, who “test” you, need you to be polite and kind to them more than ever!  They count on you to be consistent in your message while they are trying to figure out so many layers of life.

·         “Prepare children for the art of social exchange – meeting and greeting, eye contact, body language, a firm handshake. This is essential for making friends and keeping them, being part of a group and socialization.”  Good Manners are Contagious   J. Stoner, Ph. D. & L. Weiner

The balloon animals are gone.

 But the magic words of Please and Thank you are alive and well!