The Importance of “Please” and “Thank You”

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Call me old-fashioned, but I think all children should be raised to say please and thank you.  My parents from a very young age stressed how important is was to say it and we were always corrected when we didn’t.

“Mom, pass the butter,” I barked.

“Pardon? You would like me to what?” she asked.

“Mom, please pass the butter.”

“Thank you, here you go.”

Growing up I thought it was the biggest pain in the behind.  Good grief, why did I have to say please for everything.  But now that I’m older, I cringe whenever I hear grown children bark out their orders to their parents without so much as a “May I” or “Please can you.”  I firmly believe that manners are so important when raising children.  They need to understand that there are proper ways to ask for things and simply barking out commands will not get you far in life.   Jeremy Sherman, an epistemologist, states in his article in Psychologytoday.com, that while “please and thank you’s” should be said, maybe not as often as we use them, and certainly not in a sarcastic way so not to confuse people of their meanings.

   ” In their purest forms, “please” and “thank you” signal that this is a request for a favor, not a demand that a debt be paid. That’s what they are designed to represent, even if in practice they end up functioning somewhat differently. They’re supposed to be ways of acknowledging that compliance with a request is something of value for which the speaker is at least grateful if not indebted-not something the speaker is entitled to or owed.”

     Nanny Stella from Nanny 911 is strict about saying Please and Thank You.  She says that manners and empathy are a code of conduct that children should follow and that raising well-mannered children should be parent’s number one priority.  Nanny Stella concurs that manners is a way to teach children right from wrong and by parents enforcing manners, we can raise our children into polite and respectful individuals.  In her article in Parentsconnect.com, she has listed a series of challenges for parents to encourage this behaviour.

  • Show by example.This is an exercise for you, as well as your kids! So say please and thank you for every little thing you can think of today. If your child hands you her bottle, say, “Thank you!” If are asking something of your partner, don’t forget to add a please at the end. Setting the tone of respect and politeness in the home is where it all starts. Do as I say, not as I do does not apply here!

  • Praise the pleases.Let your children know how happy it makes you when they are being kind and responsible. Praise your children when they use the words please and thank-you today.

  • Be a broken record. Keep on reminding your kids throughout the day to say please and thank you. If they ask for a glass of milk, wait for the magic word. If they try to leave the dinner table, call them back and ask them to ask you to PLEASE to be excused. Write them into your House Rules

     Children sometimes need a fun way to be taught manners and a song is always a great way.  While this purple singing monster may have caused me to throw things at the TV as a child, Barney has just the song for saying Please and Thank You.

Please and Thank You

 

Words & Music by Phil Parker © 1992 Shimbaree Music (ASCAP)

 

 

There are lots of things

 

We can do to be nice,

 

Sometimes they’re hard to remember.

 

But there are two little things

 

You should never forget,

 

From January through December.

He’s talking ’bout please and thank you,

They’re called the magic words,

If you want nice things to happen,

They’re the words that should be heard,

Remember please and thank you,

‘Cause they’re the magic words.

Use ’em in the morning, at noon, and night,

‘Cause it’s a great way to be polite!

Please and thank you,

They’re the magic words.

We’re talking ’bout please and thank you,

They’re called the magic words.

If you want nice things to happen,

They’re the words that should be heard!

Remember please and thank you,

 ‘Cause they’re the magic words.

    Use ’em in the morning, at noon, and night,

‘Cause it’s a great way to be polite!

Please and thank you,

They’re the magic words.

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2 responses »

  1. I completely agree that “please” and “thank you” are very important words and that they should be inculcated in a toddler’s vocabulary early on. I used to have a pretty smooth time at it when my daughter was younger. Then, she was so eager to please and quite easier to handle. These days, though, she seems to have developed a liking for testing my patience. She says “please” and “thank you” alright, but not until my eyeballs are about to pop out of their sockets! 😉 Hah! 3-year-olds! What can I say?? 🙂

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