About a year ago, we focused an entire month of Family Home Evening (FHE) lessons on good manners. My husband and I both felt our kids needed a refresher course on this topic. I came up with an idea, Passport to Good Manners.
At that first FHE, I passed out a passport to each of our children. Here's a link to a great passport template. I enjoyed gluing photos in their passports along with filling out their "stats." My husband and I talked to our kids about good manners and why they are so important. We then told them that for the entire month we would focus on a specific manner skill set each week. They could earn stamps (which were our initials) in their passport every time they showed those particular manners. Many times we saw them perform these good manners and we recorded the initial together, but sometimes they were on their honor when reporting to us. We told them that as soon as every member of our family earned 100 initials (we were met with some groans) we would go out as a family and celebrate. We celebrated by seeing the Lego Movie in the theaters. After the introduction, we immediately went into our focus for that first week - good hygiene. Like I said, we had to go back to basics! For example, they got our initials every time they brushed their teeth, washed their hands, combed hair, etc. Not too hard, but repetition helps when creating good habits.
For week two, our focus was on saying those magic words: "please," "thank you," "excuse me," etc. The following week our FHE lesson and week's focus was on being a gentleman/gentlewoman. We talked about taking turns, being on time, opening doors for others in need, waiting patiently in line, giving compliments, etc. Again, they got a stamp in their passport every time they performed one of these acts. Finally, the last week of the month focused on table manners. The do's and don'ts at dinner.
At times, it was a lot of work. Other times, it was a game. My husband and I both saw behavior improvement and we all enjoyed spending an evening together as a family at the movies. I think it is time to revisit this topic in our family :) I'll be putting together new passports soon!