A couple of weeks ago, I wrote about Giving Our Children Silver Boxes of Encouragement, and I discussed a few games to help instill manners at Christmastime.
I wanted to delve in to the topic of Christmas manners a bit more, as teaching children about manners can be a puzzling task, and I thought a fun way to do that would be to share some Christmas printables for you to use with your children.
You can use these printables in a variety of different ways, and I encourage you to do what works for your family!
I would print these out and introduce one card at a time to younger children, or give them all in a “book” format to an older child.
They can be filled out by the children, or used as talking points.
If you want to re-use the cards (ink is expensive!), laminate them before use.
PIN these printables if you don’t have time to print them now!
Say “Thank You”
Some of the games discussed here can help children prepare for this.
As with all of the manners discussed here, it is important for us as parents to also model these manners — remember to stop and thank your children, so that they can remember how good it feels to be thanked.
Point out opportunities to help, request (and do not require) help, and show a helpful nature yourself.
You can also take this opportunity to take about the story of the Good Samaritan.
Do your children know table manners?
It’s a good idea to introduce table manners in a low-stress environment, before the big family get-together.
Try to make a game of remembering being very proper people with great table manners.
Examples of good table manners:
- Chewing with mouths closed
- Not reaching or shouting across the table
- Asking to be excused
- Not putting elbows on the table
- Using proper utensils for eating
- Wiping your mouth with a napkin
- Saying “please” and “thank you”
Be Kind and Encouraging
Children learn young that their words have power, but not always in the best ways!
Display kind and encouraging words and suggest kind and encouraging things for your children to say throughout the day. Acknowledge them for making the effort – even if they miss the mark!
Use Your Cough Garage
Do your children know that they have a built-in cough garage? (Many parents don’t know either!)
The old way of having people cough or sneeze into their hands is just asking for germ spreading — the new, more hygienic way is to sneeze or cough into their inner elbow, although if they have a tissue, that’s even better!
While this is a very cultural topic (where I live it is considered extremely rude to walk into someone’s house with shoes on), it is good to prepare children for what is generally expected in the homes that you will be visiting, and also empower children to take care of their outdoor things at home.
Maybe you allow shoes inside at your home, in which case it is a good idea to teach your children to ask their hosts about their preferences.
Say or Wave “Hello”
Children should not be forced to give physical affection, even to family members, if doing so makes them uncomfortable.
However, we still want our children to be kind and greet family members.
Some children will feel too shy to even say “hello,” so giving an alternative like waving – that can be done at a “safe distance” might be a great solution.
Reassure your children that their bodies are their own, and they don’t need to do anything that makes them uncomfortable, but that they must acknowledge other people in some (agreed upon) way.
This is hard. Especially when you have an under-developed impulse control system, as children do.
Prepare children for the impatient moments in a positive way. Talk about how much fun it will be to wait to open presents, how waiting our turn for the gravy to be passed around is kind, how to gracefully interrupt an adult, and how beautiful the scenery (and conversation) can be on those long drives to visit friends and family.
Be understanding, as this is an incredibly hard skill to learn, and your child will surprise you with his or her capabilities this holiday season.
And, as a bit of an overview, I have also prepared this poster for you:
Merry Christmas! Don’t Forget to PIN!