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Expert advice

13th Feb 2024

This simple hack will encourage your children say thank you

Jody Coffey

Good manners are something all parents want to instill in their children

Trying to encourage our children to practice good manners can be tricky at the best of times. However, it’s a habit every parent tries their best to encourage.

It may sound straightforward, but young children often forget the magic words, which means we need to remind them to say ‘please’ and ‘thanks’ a lot of the time.

Father and behaviour analyst, Mike Wallach, has shared his tried-and-tested hack for getting his children into the habit of thanking somebody for meeting a request or doing a kind deed for them.

Labelling it as ‘the best parenting hack’ in his toolbox, Mike (@apparentlyparenting) says this will eliminate the need to say ‘What do you say?’ ever again.

@apparentlyparenting This works so effortlessly and is amazing to see the lasting effect it can have on a child. Try it with your kids and see them transform! #parenting101 #parentingtips #parenting #parentinghacks #tiktokparenting #parentsunite #parentingmadesimple #parentcoach #parentinghack #toddler #respectfulparenting ♬ original sound – ApparentlyParenting

“It works because saying ‘thank you’ becomes a very effective tool for them,” the father-of-four explains.

When a child fails to express their gratitude after you bring them something, the dad says to hold on to the item or snack.

“The first time you do it, they’ll look up in your eyes. They’re looking for some clarification.

“That’s when you can tell them ‘say thank you’. And at which point, they’ll say ‘thank you’ and you release the item.”

The next time they ask for something, the user says, is “show time”.

“You bring another item to them, this time you again hold onto it, and their immediate response will be ‘thank you’.”

Mike says that parents don’t have to do this every time but that every so often they should hold onto an item until they thank them as a way to help them practice their manners.

As the Hakim quote says: “A parent can give a child no greater gift than good manners.”