Practice makes perfect??? | Me, Myself and Kids

Practice makes perfect???

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I took my 3 YO to a playdate this weekend and when it was time to leave, he shouted “goodbye, thank you!”.  I was so elated, my boy was being so polite!!!  What great manners he has thanking his friend’s mom who he does not even know.
Fast forward to that evening when his grandparents were over.  When it was time for them to leave there was no goodbye, no kisses, no hugs, nothing!  Great manners? Not so much.
I understand my son can be shy at times.  Okay, very shy, and more times than not.  But it’s one thing when he’s around strangers or people that he hasn’t seen in a while.   It’s another when he is with members of the family.  There has been more than one occasion where I have to tell him what to do…say goodbye, hello, please or thank you, and there are moments that he does it voluntarily.  But how do you ‘make’ your kids, better yet, teach your kids to do it all of the time?
My mother’s intuition tells me to just practice everyday. Repetition is key with kids. When he asks for something, make sure he asks properly. Many times I’ve heard “mommy, milk”. I’ve learned to tell him to say it in a sentence. He asks, “mommy can I have milk please?”.  And when I give it to him, I wait for his response. And if I don’t get one, I ask “what do you say?” and I wait for him to say, “Thank you mommy”.
Is it just repetition that is going to make this happen? And continue?
A mom friend of mine told me what she does; lead by example. Absolutely! If you are not using these manners yourself, consistently for that matter, why should we expect our kids too? I’ll admit I am likely guilty too. Not guilty of the hello or goodbye’s, but definitely the please’s. I’m sure I’m not the only one that needs to remind myself every now and then…right? We need to ensure that we think about the way we speak to others in front of our children. These kids are like sponges and really do soak up more than we give them credit for. At least that’s what my husband keeps reminding me of after I have said something in front of the kids that I probably shouldn’t have.
I wonder what it is exactly that goes through their little minds. I mean, why can’t my boy say goodbye to his grandmother when she leaves? Do we have to stop allowing our kids to be spoiled with gifts when they come to visit and only allow them if the child was polite? We already have a ‘no present rule’ for not pooping in the toilet and ask me how well that’s going…:)
How far do we have to go in demanding politeness from a 3-year-old who may not actually realize how important it is and what it means. Practice makes perfect so I guess that’s a good start…

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For the last 7+ years I have immersed myself in the "mom life". My blog, appropriately named Me, Myself and Kids is my life; the challenges, the laughter, and the tears. But I also offer my own version of motherly advice. In doing so, I’ve designating myself as an MD or “Mom Doc”. Not because I know it all. Don’t get me wrong. It’s an open perspective; my learnings shared so you can take the good, bad and ugly and adapt it to your own family life. So please join me as I share all of the crazy and overwhelming thoughts and experiences of the mom life with Me, Myself and Kids.

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