Introducing Socially Acceptable Behavior in Children
I was having a casual Sunday lunch with my family in a trendy restaurant last weekend, all of us having a good conversation and an even better meal. The peace was suddenly disturbed by a couple of children at another table who thought it was fine to run around, make lots of noise and pretend they were in their homes. I looked at my children and thought…..they never did this.
So when is it a good time to introduce socially acceptable behaviour to your children? The answer is, from the start. Good parenting cannot begin when children are older; in fact it should begin with kids as young as babies.
When children reach a preschool age, it is even more important to model good behaviour and instil it in children as these are the formative years when they pick up things and add it to their personality banks. At our daycare, we encourage children to always use good manners and positive behaviour.
Here are some ways you can do the same at home….
1. Model it
If you are in the habit of not picking up after yourself, chances are your children won’t either even with several reminders. Children have this habit of aping adults so if you always say ‘please’ and ‘thank you’, if you never litter, if you ask for permission before using other people’s things, chances are your children will do it too.
2. Praise it
When you catch your preschool child modelling good behaviour, praise them for it. One of the best ways to praise them is through reward charts where they can put up their favourite sticker on a chart every time they behave well; be it at the dinner table, a party or at a friend’s place. At Kids U, we have reward charts for all our preschool children and they can exchange their stickers for a gift at the end. Praise and acknowledgement always gives way to more good stuff.
I sometimes see very young children who are obviously very frustrated vent out in ways that we are not able to handle. Young preschool children are still learning about feelings and emotions. Teach them the appropriate vocabulary so they can tell you when they are tired or bored so they don’t act up. If they can tell you what they feel, you can do something about it.