Your 6 1/4-year-old: Encouraging manners

Your 6 1/4-year-old: Encouraging manners

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Your 6-year-old now

As your child starts to spend more time at friends' houses, she needs to learn that good manners help her to get asked back. Peers are often harsher critics than parents when it comes to manners. They know when someone didn't help clean up or refused to take turns – and they don't like it.

Help by continuing to model and reinforce basic etiquette. If you treat people with kindness and respect, she'll copy. Show her how to look people in the eye and speak clearly when introducing herself. It doesn't hurt to run a rehearsal before she goes to a friend's house. How should she greet the parents? What she should do if she doesn't want to play tag and her friend does? Remind her to say thank you when her visit ends.

You may find managing manners a little harder now that your child is being influenced by things beyond your control. Don't excuse behavior you disapprove of because "everybody does it." When you see rude behavior on TV, talk about it. Ask, "How could the person have been more polite? How would you feel if someone treated you like that?

Your life now

Not wanting to go to school is a common phenomenon between ages 5 and 7. The shift to elementary school is a big, and stressful, transition. Hard as it may be, you can't coddle a reluctant student; she has to go to school. Do try to find out from her teacher if there are extra stressors you're not aware of, such as bullying or difficulty mastering part of the class work. Sometimes a need for glasses or an undiagnosed learning disability may be the root of school avoidance.

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