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Teaching grandchildren to help and thank others

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A New Year’s resolution might be to continue teaching children to do good deeds and have good social skills. Children can show gratitude to those who rarely receive a thank you. People who deserve a lot of gratitude are those in the the service industries such as truckers, grocery workers, all in the restaurant businesses including take-outs and bakeries. How often are they working very early in the morning, late at night, or holidays when we are enjoying a rest?

Thanking Restaurant Workers

We can start with restaurant workers. One family teaches their young children to write thank you and other little notes to people who work in the restaurants they visit. The family takes along paper the size of thank you notes and crayons. The activity also keeps the children occupied and helps practice writing skills. While waiting, adults help children ages seven and nine write thank you notes to the server and cook. During a holiday they might write a little note that says “Merry Christmas and Happy New Year, thank you, their first names, and add pictures. Then they leave it on their table. The family also teaches children to thank servers for their food and to use “please” with a smile when asking for something. When the server comes around to ask how everything is, they say “Thank you. This is really good.”

The young children help to clean up their area, organize the used dishes, and pick up anything they drop on the floor. The family discusses how hard restaurant and other service people work, especially around any holiday, as part of the children’s economics lessons.

No, thank you

Another reader shares this good social skills tip. Since her children were very young, instead of saying “No” to them, she says calmly,” No, thank you.” Now when adults ask her children if they want something and the children don’t want it, they say, “No, thank you.” It’s automatic. “No” and “thank you” are linked. Immediately other adults will raise their eyebrows and say, HOW did you do THAT?”

The parent adds when her children are in the middle of a tantrum, “Forget it! There is no link. They aren’t perfect.”

Young children think about themselves, making themselves comfortable, and getting what they want. However, with these easy activities families can teach them to be “good” children and think of others in a very natural and positive way. Doing little acts that show appreciation like writing thank you notes to hard working retailers, grocers, mail carriers, restaurant employees, and others helps children learn that being nice to others has more benefit than being nasty and ill mannered at any age.

Esther Macalady is a retired schoolteacher living in Golden. For more ideas see grandparentsteachtoo.blogspot.comwnmufm.org/ Learning Through the Seasons live and pod casts; Pinterest, and Facebook.

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