Joey, a seven year old boy with big brown eyes and a proven love for mashed potatoes did the unthinkable. Sitting around the holiday table, Joey wanted to show his Aunt Theresa that he could be part of the “clean the plate club” just like his Great Uncle Lester. With great conviction, he picked up his plate and licked it—sending his leftover turkey onto the floor, his unused gravy into his lap, and his mashed potatoes up his nose. Then he sneezed…and no, he didn’t cover his mouth or nose.
Joey’s mother, Trish, told me during one of our coaching sessions, “Perhaps it would have seemed funnier if half my guests weren’t covered in remnants from Joey’s dinner…my mother-in-law included.”
Holiday time can be unpredictable. It can encourage parents to push the limits of their credit cards and children to push the buttons of their parents. The excitement of these special days coupled with “once-a-year” guests, competition for parental attention, anticipation of gifts, power shopping and elaborate meals can inspire children to do things that they might not try at any other time of the year.
How can you help to ensure that your child doesn’t do a repeat performance of Joey’s dinner disaster?
(1) Expose them to role models with manners: It’s challenging to teach good manners if a key adult or older sibling in the house isn’t modeling them. Actions speak louder than words. Children must be shown as well as told what you would like to see with regard to manners. Older “cool” friends or siblings who have great manners can be a particularly powerful influence. If your children see others showing great manners, your children will learn to do the same.
(2) Set the expectations: Talk to your children about how you would like them to act in certain situations before they arise. Role-play these ideas. What would Read more