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Expert Insights

Hear what our contributing experts have to say about the importance of manners, kindness, and our program OH BEHAVE!!

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Jennie Cox is a Board Certified Behavior Analyst and has over 17 years experience as a special education teacher in Morgantown, West Virginia. Jennie holds a Masters degree in Elementary Education and is certified in Special Education K-12. 


Prosocial behavior is a life skill that is being taught to children from birth. When children are treated with kindness, and when they observe those around them being treated with kindness, it can boost feelings of confidence, being in control, happiness and optimism. Kindness leads to a better understanding of social interactions which, in turn, has a positive effect on learning, health and social emotional situations. Making learning about kindness fun and interactive with a program like “OH! Behave!”, is promoting lifelong learning and emotional growth! 


The old saying “Practice makes perfect!” is not exactly true…  Practice makes permanent… This is why it is so important to practice the behaviors that you want to make permanent!  It is harder to unlearn something once you have practiced it.  Catching the kiddos when they are not demonstrating kindness, explaining what they should do instead, and then immediately practicing 2-3 times in a row will help to retrain the brain! It is equally as important if not MORE important to catch them demonstrating kindness and praising them for their manners!  Using specific language about what they are doing correctly will help reinforce the manners you have observed!  For example, “Johnny, nice job using your manners and saying thank you when the server brought your drink!”

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Asking kids to clean up after themselves, which they are completely capable of doing, helps to instill discipline and a sense of responsibility.  It is important to remember to encourage them even if they aren’t doing it fast enough or “the right way”.  Cleaning up should not be looked at as a punishment!  It’s their contribution to the family!  Once they are finished cleaning up, they are rewarded with the next super fun activity!  Requiring kids to take care of their belongings and work together gives them a sense of accomplishment and pride as part of a family unit.



Making learning fun is key!  Kids love learning songs and nursery rhymes.  When kids take  “The Mannerhausen Family Oath”, they remember how it goes because it rhymes!  Call and response is another good way to ensure that they are practicing the correct words each time, which will help ingrain it into their memories!  Remember…Practice makes permanent!

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Got a picky eater at home? Are your kiddos reluctant to try new foods? We’ve all been there: it can be scary to try new things. However, it can also be incredibly and deliciously rewarding. When kids eat a variety of foods at a young age, which is crucial for development, it paves the way for healthier, more diverse eating habits. It’s important that we, as parents, set that good example! How will they learn to try something new or different if their parents don’t? When adults try new things, they show kids that it’s okay to branch out. Your children will be more likely to try new foods with encouragement and positive prompting. When my kids were little, we made up a funny song to encourage them to try new foods, which we still use to this day! A fun twist instead of nagging can be more effective. If it’s still a “no go”, remind them that it’s ok to make that choice but they must use manners and kindness in doing so. Say “No thank you!”.

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