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Teaching the use of Thank You & Please to Children

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  • March 30, 2021
  • MKB Team

Saying Thank You and Please are the very basics when it comes to good manners in everyone, especially children.

But as parents, one has to be consistent and emphasise on good behaviour at all times to ensure that these are part of your child’s second nature. But why is it so important to teach kids the use of Thank You and Please?

Regular usage of these two terms can build your child’s overall personality, also demonstrating respect for classmates, teachers, relatives, friends, neighbours and acquaintances. These two magical words have the power to soften demands into requests in such a simple way, don’t they? Even though children are thinking about their own needs, it helps them think of others in a considerate way when they use these words. These two words are actually social courtesies that stay with someone throughout their lifetime. If imbibed at an early age, the most brilliant results can be achieved.

It is common knowledge that children learn best when they model the behaviour that we want them to follow. So, when you are asking your child to pick up his toys after he has finished playing, you have to set a good example for him to follow by saying, “Please pick up your toys!”, and after he has complied with your request, a “Thank You!” should follow immediately. The behaviours that you model as parents enable your children to develop the positive habit of using good manners all the time. No matter how small the task is that your child performs, always be generous with your words of praise. A child’s efforts are always enhanced because of this just like you show approval when they obey your request. This boosts a child’s self-esteem and displays to them that compliance always fetches emotional rewards.  

Also, smaller kids tend to be forgetful and will not always remember to say ‘please’ or ‘thank you’. It is advisable that you poke them with a gentle reminder when they forget, instead of scolding them for having forgotten their manners. For example, when your child asks for something without saying please, all you have to do is reply in a pleasant tone, “When you say please, mama will be happy to give you  the milk/juice/chocolate that you want.”

You could also reply, “I think you meant to ask: Please, may I have some milk?”

Children are most likely to respond better to any one of these two approaches. Keep in mind that it's way easier for children to say ‘please’ rather than ‘thank you’. This is because once they get what they want, their attention shifts easily. Remind them politely each time they forget to say ‘thank you’ till it becomes a natural act with them and they are used to saying the same.

Did you know that even babies can say please? Well, when it comes to toddlers,  you can use sign language signs to communicate ‘please’ and ‘thank you’ with them. Sign language signs can be great to cut down on the frustration levels faced by young kids who can’t talk when they are trying to make themselves understood to adults. When a baby or a toddler adds the sign for ‘please’ while reaching out for the milk and says ‘thank you’ with a sign after receiving a toy as a gift, the first step of teaching manners to your child has been achieved. It also displays how much a baby comprehends about pre-verbal communications and interaction.

The Five Minute timer is a great technique to use with school age children. Set a timer for five minutes if there is no please. The kids can ask again for what they want after waiting for 5 minutes. This would be difficult with toddlers as 5 minutes 

is a long time span for them. But it is perfect for 8- 10 year olds who are experimenting with boundaries.

But do have realistic expectations for your children as like all good things, developing good manners takes time. Be a good role model as a parent so that they follow all your positive actions. Be consistent always, and do not let any opportunities pass by to be polite and courteous, and to teach them the same. Happy parenting!

What’s your POA and techniques for teaching Thank You & Please to your kids to enhance their manners? Write in to us! Will you please tell us? Thank you!

 

Q&A

You ask and we answer!

How do I teach my child to say please and thank you?

Anjita Thakur, New Delhi.

You can gently encourage your child to say "please" and "thank you" as soon as she starts to talk. When your child hands you something (or you take something from her), you can simply say, "Thank you". Your child will learn to repeat after you, and eventually to use the word at appropriate times.

Why do we use please and thank you?

Sameera Manchanda, Bangalore.

When you say please and thank you, you're displaying kindness and respect. That's a sign of proper manners, but only half the story. When you make the effort to do small things well, you're much more likely to do big things better. That's because taking pride in what you do is habit forming.

What kind of word is please and thank you?

Afshyna Basith, Kuwait.

The use of please and thank you are known as functions. Learning correct language functions will help you understand and use the correct phrases and grammar in specific situations.

How do you say thank you in different ways?

Sheetal Chandaria, Ahmedabad.

There are other Ways to Say “Thank You So Much” and “Thank You Very Much” in Writing:

1 Thank you for all your hard work on this!

2 Thanks again, we couldn't have pulled this off without you.

3 Thank you, you're amazing!

4 I'm so thankful for everything you bring to the table.

5 Thank you kindly.

6 Thanks a million.

7 Many thanks.

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MKB Team

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