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Trends come and go, but impeccable manners are always in style. “Manners are learned, so be sure to practice at home,” said NorthShore Psychologist Lara Jakobsons, Ph.D., who leads a weekly therapy group for tweens and teens in Evanston.
“Remember, your children are always watching—the best way for them to understand good behavior is to see you modeling it.” Dr. Jakobsons offers three age-appropriate situations to teach your kids the basics of kindness and decency.
5 and Younger: Play DatesManners learned: sharing, communicationPlaydates are the perfect way to learn some of the building blocks of good manners. Kids need to learn to take turns—from time on the swings to playing with toys. Praise and reward systems also can motivate them to share.
6 to 11: Retail TherapyManners learned: patience, politenessIn a store, children should know how to be respectful of other shoppers—maybe even offer to let someone go ahead in line who has fewer items. They should also be kind to cashiers, ask for help politely and always offer a genuine “thank you.”
12 and Older: World Wide WebManners learned: empathy, civilitySometimes, all the manners older kids have learned go out the window when they’re online and interactions aren't face to face. Teach them to consider other viewpoints and disagree without name-calling or bullying, and give them guidelines for what kind of info is appropriate to share through the internet.