- Be a good role model. "Do as I say, but not as I do" is a joke. Your kids probably want to respond with, "Yeah, like you'd catch me playing bridge with a bunch of 50-year-old women!" When you want your child to show good manners and respect, you must also practice good manners and respect. Say please and thank you, admit your mistakes, apologize, and treat people, in general, with kindness and respect. The reward of this behavior is that your children will grow up having many friends and a family that loves being around her.
- Share. Share with your children so they understand the importance of sharing with others. Compliment them when you see them sharing with others.
- Keep kids healthy. Children tend to behave badly when they're tired or hungry. Kids need sleep and nutritious foods to survive. It's that simple.
- Practice family politeness. Everyone in the family must practice "please" and "thank-you" policy in which, for example, no request is considered unless the person asking says "please." When one of your children forgets, just give him or her a look that says, "I'm waiting." They soon catch on. Use the same approach for saying "thank you."
- Thank-you notes. Teach your children the importance of thanking people for gifts. Show them how to write notes and make sure that they are sent promptly after receiving gifts.
- Praise good behavior. Praise is a wonderful teacher. Tell your children how proud you are when you notice them being polite and following the "please" and "thank-you" guidelines that you've set.
Excerpted from Parenting For Dummies, 2nd Edition®, published by Wiley Publishing, Inc. For more information on "Parenting For Dummies®", or other books, visit Dummies.com.