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Manners: Ages 4 and 5

A quick primer to develop little Miss and Mr. Manners of your kids.

1. Kindness Crowns-Draw a crown outline on yellow construction paper for each child. Help children cut out their crowns. Set out star stickers or crayons for children to decorate their crowns.

As children are working, say: These are kindness crowns to show that you belong to God's kingdom.

Help kids each staple the ends of their crown together so they can wear it during class.

2. Golden Rule-When the crowns are completed, march around the room and have the children follow you as they chant, "We're kids of the King!"

Then have children sit in a circle. Read aloud Luke 6:31. Say: God wants kids to love each other. We can show love by using good manners. When we're polite at the table, when we answer the phone nicely or when we don't interrupt other people as they're talking, we're using good manners. Using good manners is treating other people the way we like to be treated. And this makes God happy!

3. Party Manners-Say: Let's plan a birthday party for the king! Appoint a host or hostess. Encourage kids to help plan decorations, games and other birthday party things. Provide blown-up balloons and streamers for kids to decorate the room.

Help children use imaginative play to practice good manners in the party setting. Look for these manners: host or hostess greeting the other children, guests offering a birthday greeting and an imaginary gift, saying, "Yes, please" or "No, thank you" when offered cake and ice cream, and the guests thanking the host or hostess when the party is over.

Serve cake and ice cream and encourage kids to use their best manners as they pass plates and as they eat. Remind them that one good table manner is not talking with food in their mouth.

After the party is over, praise the children for their good manners.

5. Napkin rings-From paper towel tubes, cut 2-inch-wide rings. Cut enough rings for children to each make a napkin ring for everyone in their family. Have children glue pre-cut fabric or paper shapes to the tubing strips. Show the children how to roll up a paper or cloth napkin and slip it through the ring. Say: Give these napkin rings to your family. As you eat, remember to practice your good manners.

Have children hold hands in a circle. Then pray: Thank you, God, for letting us show our love in good manners. Amen.

Debbie Trafton O'Neal is a teacher in Washington. She has worked with children for 15 years.

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