All kids have issues with manners at some point or another. And changing these issues, for the betterment of our kids, depends uopn YOUR proactive decisions as the parent.
You can choose to ignore the undesirable behavior and hope they “grow out of it”. (The problem with this: No correction means no growth. They’ll remain children FOREVER!) You can scold, revoke privileges or even administer corporal punishment. I, personally, like to be a little more creative in my choice of character refinement tactics.
Enter the “Manners Marbles”.
Here’s how it works.
Go to the Dollar Tree and gather one plastic jar or bottle per child. (we chose these colorful water bottles minus lids)
Choose which manners you wish to improve. (We are currently working on polishing our table manners.) Then decide upon a starting point.
Example: Since we are attacking bad table manner, for each inappropriate action, the child places a marble in their jar. When 5 marbles are collected, they lose their dessert. We no longer use “Eat your dinner or you don’t get dessert” as motivation for the sweet treat. That never worked anyway and, even as a parent, you can’t tell when your child is full. So, it seems unreasonable to make them clean their plate just to eat MORE. This appears to encourage over eating and that’s a struggle I am all too familiar with. I DO NOT wish to pass that destructive habit on to my children.
Only ONE of my 3 kids was rewarded with dessert this evening. My oldest and youngest were not happy and thought it unfair, but this was also a prime teachable moment.
“Mom, it’s not fair if Wibby gets a treat and we don’t.”
“C.J., It’s important for you to learn that the choices that you make will have an effect on the rest of your life. You chose not to watch your manners closely enough to get 5 marbles. So, now, I’m sorry, but you have also made the decision to not receive dessert.”
“Ok, Mom. I’ll do better tomorrow.”
“That’s a good choice, Buddy!” <—- This! This is WHY we do what we do. It’s not always pleasant. It will make them cry, but it’s better they learn these lessons from people that love and protect them than from the harsher, more callus world outside.
Although, Miss Olivia, being the only one eating dessert, did find her brownie EXTRA tasty tonight. Haha.