PLEASE and THANK YOU

How can ASL signs help teach your babies and kids to use their manners?

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Start early, start strong.

Here’s how I’ve been doing it!

Firstly, I demonstrate that we always say “thank you” and “please” in our daily conversations -I make sure to say “thank you” when they hand me a toy or something to hold, and I say “please” when giving commands like, “Please find your shoes”. And I always enunciate those manner words verbally, repeat them often, and sign them every time I say them. Every time. And also, I give lots of praise and cheering when they use their manners and signs. The usual stuff.

This takes lots of time and patience, I won’t lie. But it is SO worth it.

And keep in mind that kids are enthusiastic and can get lost-in-the-moment quite often, and it’s easy for them to forget their manners at any age. Even adults forget to use their manners. So, by laying the groundwork of always saying and signing PLEASE and THANK YOU, my kids are prepared to follow my lead and I can just catch their eye and sign THANK YOU to remind them whenever they forget. A quick prompt, not a verbal reminder, not a reprimand. And no one else usually sees my signals…

… so my kids end up looking like rock stars remembering their manners.

Mostly, my kids appreciate that I don’t embarrass them saying things like, “What do you say?”, and “Don’t forget your manners”, and “What’s the magic word?”

(by the way, there is no magic word when you’re a parent, and really, magic doesn’t work anyway. Consistent patterns do!)

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To sign PLEASE in American Sign Language, circle your flat, open hand on the upper chest.

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To sign THANK YOU in American Sign Language, hold your fingertips to your chin and then extend them outwards to the other person.

How do you teach manners?

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