Many parents are successful at teaching their children manners through modeling the behavior or reminding kids to use them. This post brings a fun, hands-on approach to teaching manners. The games/activities below can be a supplement to what you are already teaching your children at home. These are great group activities to play with young kids. I hope you find these helpful!
Let’s get started!
Please and Thank You Game
The following game will teach your child when to say Please and Thank you.
- 3 Stuffed Animals or 3 Action Figures
- Explain to your child that Please should be used with any request such as…
- When your child wants a drink
- They should say “May I PLEASE have a drink?”
- If the child is very young then they can say “Drink, please.”
- Explain to your child that Thank you is used when they receive an item, favor, or an act of kindness.
- For example, children should use it when someone gives them a drink, a gift, or when they have visited someone’s home.
- Start the activity by having your child gather their stuffed animals and action figures.
- Cut 3 rectangles out of the paper.
- Write the word, Doing, on one rectangle and then tape it on the front of one stuffed animal or action figure.
- The Doing toy’s job is to role play the scenarios with your child.
- Write the word, Thank you, on one rectangle and then tape it on the front of one stuffed animal or action figure.
- The Thank you toy’s job is to say Thank you in the scenario if needed.
- Write the word, Please, on one rectangle and then tape it on the front of one stuffed animal or action figure.
- The Please toy’s job is to say Please in the scenario if needed.
- Create four scenarios where the child will have to role play and identify when to use Thank you or Please like the examples below…
- The Doing Toy just shared his snack with your child. (Answer – say Thank you)
- The Doing Toy would like a banana. What should the toy say? (Answer – May I please have a banana?) (Another option is Banana please).
- Your child spilled the Legos on the floor and the Doing Toy helped your child clean up. (Answer – say Thank you)
- The Doing toy wants to play at the playground. What should the toy say? (Answer – Can you take me to the playground, please?)
- Role play the scenarios above (or scenarios you have created) one at a time with the toys and your child.
- Below is an example of how the role play should be played. Let use the first scenario as an example..
- The child and Doing toy should role play the following scenario – The Doing Toy just shared his snack with your child.
- Now the child should decide if the Thank you toy or Please toy is needed.
- In this scenario, the child should get the Thank you toy to say Thank you to the Doing toy.
- If your child is confused about whether to use the Thank you toy or Please toy help them to determine the correct answer.
- Repeat steps 9-10 with the scenarios given in number 8. You may also create your own scenarios.
This activity gives kids a reminder to cover their mouths when they cough and sneeze.
- The child’s arm
- Explain to your child that it is important to cover their mouths when they cough or sneeze to prevent the spread of germs.
- Germs can cause others to get sick.
- The best way to stop the spread of germs is to cover your mouth and nose with a tissue.
- If you don’t have time to get a tissue, then use SUPER V!!!
- SUPER V is when you cough and sneeze into the inner crease of your elbow.
- When do you this, your arm forms the letter V.
- Pretend that you are sneezing or coughing and model to your child how to cover their mouth.
- As you model how to cover your mouth, say SUPER V like it is a superhero!
- Have your child practice saying and doing the SUPER V mouth cover position.
- Every time your child really coughs or sneeze, say SUPER V!
- If your child is not into superheroes then create something else like the PRINCESS SHIELD to help them remember to cover their mouths.
Excuse Me Game
This game will teach your child when it is appropriate to say Excuse Me.
- Something that makes a loud noise like a bell, drum, whistle, or kazoo
- Child’s stuffed animals, action figures, or other toys
- Explain to your child that Excuse Me should be used in the following situations…
- To get another person’s attention
- When you need to get around someone and they are in your pathway.
- When you have bumped into someone or accidentally stepped on their foot.
- During an acceptable interruption
- For example, if mom is talking to someone and the young child needs to go to the bathroom.
- When you burp or pass gas
- After explaining step 1, role play the situations with your child (using yourself and child as the actors for practice).
- Next get your child’s toys.
- Give your child a loud noise maker of your choice such as a bell, drum, whistle, or kazoo.
- Use the child’s toys to role play each scenario in number 1 and scenarios where Excuse Me is not needed such as…
- You give your child a snack.
- Your child wants to go outside and play.
- After role playing each scenario with the toys, give the child two choices in which to respond…
- If saying Excuse Me is an appropriate response to the scenario, then the child should use their noise maker and next say Excuse Me.
- Is Excuse Me is NOT the appropriate response to the scenario, then the child can say NO!
- For example, you role play that one action figure burps and your child has a drum.
- The child should play the drum and then say Excuse Me.
- Keep playing the game with various scenarios.
No Interruptions Game
This activity uses the concept of Shaping to teach kids to be patient while parents are talking to others in person or on the phone. Shaping is a technique many counselors use to teach kids new behaviors or skills. It allows you to build a desired behavior in children using small steps. Once the child has mastered a step, then move to the next one.
- One of the child’s stuffed animal, action figure, or other toy
- Pretend or toy telephone
- Explain to your child that interruption is when they talk while someone else is talking.
- Interrupting is considered rude unless it is an acceptable interruption such as…
- You have to go to the bathroom
- You or someone is hurt.
- Some kids interrupt their parents for attention or they think the conversation topic with the other adult is boring.
- Start the No Interruptions Game by getting your child’s toy and the telephone.
- Tell your child they can’t talk to you until the timer goes off.
- If this is a struggle for them, suggest ideas to keep them busy like counting, playing with a toy, or just listening.
- Set the timer to 20 seconds.
- Pretend you are on the phone while the timer is going.
- After the times goes off, tell your child they can talk.
- If your child does NOT interrupt you within the 20 second period, then next time increase the time to 30 seconds and so on.
- Do this until you get to a desired time like 5 minutes.
- If your child talks to you before the timer goes off, then try the activity again with the timer set to a lesser time like 10 seconds and work from there.
I hope you find these activities helpful!
Our books are available on Amazon, “Teach Your Toddler to Read Through Play,” “Fun Easy Ways to Teach Your Toddler to Write, and “Teach Your Child About Money Through Play.“