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Get Kids To Mind Their Manners Without Being Coaxed!

Does your child remember to say please and thank you without being asked?

Sure, learning those skills is usually fun and painless for 2 and 3-year-olds. But after the thrill is gone, where's the motivation? It's more than a little bit embarrassing when they have to be prodded.

"Aunt Debbie gave you a lovely fruitcake, Stewart, "What do you say?"

After more years in early childhood education than I care to tell you right now, I discovered a trick. Well, it's really more like an easy game......but it doesn't matter what we call it because it's fun and fun always wins when it comes to learning!

Here's what to do:

Get a bunch of large colorful cable ties (12 in work well) and whatever you do, don't let the kids play with them, they're very dangerous. So keep them in a child-safe place and once they've learned the basics, you can build a chain, adding one cable tie for every time they say please or thank you without being asked.

If they say it after a reminder, that's all fine and good, but they don't earn a cable tie. No exceptions!

To make this super easy on myself, since I know it has no chance of working if it's difficult, I add a tie to the chain when we're all in the room and when we're not, I depend on the kids to keep track of how many ties we've earned. I can add them later or whenever I remember. If no one remembers, it's OK to guess. If I forget, they usually remember.

The chain hangs from the ceiling so only I can reach but I have it hooked up so I can pull it down easily to add a tie without straining to look up and do it above my head.

At first, I set a small reward and when they reached 50 cable ties, we took a trip to a favorite playground. I set the next reward for when we reached 150!