A Fun Way to Teach Kids Manners

We try to teach our kids good manners—please, thank you, chewing with your mouth closed, excuse me, etc. I’m not sure why it takes so long to master these things. We always teach by example and are diligent in our reminders, but in my experience, it still takes a painfully long time for kids to internalize courteous habits and act on them consistently.

That’s why chose the Manners Kit from Happy Heart Kid to try out with our 5-year-old, BoyWonder. The kit looked promising on paper, but I wanted to see how it played out in real life.

Much to my delight, BoyWonder loved it.

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We read through the activity booklet together, and he enjoyed drawing in missing parts of pictures and reading about the characters, an elephant named Caleb and a monkey Ella. Then he wanted to try out the Manners Game.

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This was his favorite part. There are four different categories of cards, with corresponding color spaces on the board. You roll the die to see what color you should move to, the choose one of the cards of that color. The four color categories are:

Table Talk – Prompts for practicing conversations at the table, such as “Talk about a place you’d like to visit,” or “What is one of your favorite books?”

Choose One – You’re given a situation and two possible choices for handling it. For example, “What should Caleb do if his nose starts to run while he is having dinner?” 1) Wipe his nose on his sleeve. 2) Say ‘excuse me’ and wipe his nose with his napkin.”

Fill in the Blank – A statement with words missing, and you have to fill it in. “To show his best manners, Caleb says _________ when someone passes him something at the table.   (thank you) OR (give me that)”

Act it Out – Actions to practice through role play, such as, “Politely wipe your mouth at the dinner table.” or “Introduce yourself to new friends you’ve never met before.”

I kid you not, when the Table Talk prompt below came up, BoyWonder said, “Playing this game!”

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He really did like it that much. When we got to the end, he asked to play again, so we played it twice in a row.

There were two other activities in the box—making a bracelet with courteous words like “Please,” “Welcome,” or “Excuse Me,” or making Thank You cards. BoyWonder chose to make a card for a friend who had come to visit recently.

The kit comes with every single thing you need. Markers, stickers, beads, string, game pieces, crayons, etc. We have a lot of these materials at home, but it was nice for once to not have to track down what we needed and figure out what to do with them.

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He chose one of the three “Thank You” cards from the kit. There was also a little wooden block and stickers to make your own unique stamp. So fun.

Here’s the card BoyWonder made. Too. Stinking. Adorable.

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We ran out of time, so we opted to postpone the beadwork for another day, but everything we needed to make bracelets was in there, too.

All in all, I was quite impressed. I wasn’t sure how “into” it BoyWonder was going to be, but he loved it. It’s perfect for his age. I love that it incorporates the arts, imagination, and critical thinking, and provides a fun, non-threatening opportunity to talk about manners and courtesy without feeling like you’re nagging.

And it all came in a pretty box. (I’m a sucker for a pretty box.) 🙂

After our experience with the Manners Kit, I feel really good about recommending it. I really want to try out the Empathy box as well! They just reached their initial Kickstarter goal to get the kits into production, but if they raise more, they’ll be able to create more kits, such as Patience and Grit. It’s a worthwhile investment.

Find out more about Happy Heart Kid’s awesome project and how you can get the Manners or Empathy box here.

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Annie writes about life, motherhood, world issues, beautiful places, and anything else that tickles her brain. On good days, she enjoys juggling life with her husband and homeschooling her children. On bad days, she binges on chocolate chips and dreams of traveling the world alone.

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