My boys would jump on the couch as their five colorful animal pals of Backyardigans sang and danced to the tune of Please and Thank you. Austin, Tasha, Tyrone, Uniqua and Pablo were five of my most effective respect drill sergeants. While my husband and I exerted some role modeling efforts, the Backyardigans were among our enforcers. From courtesies to polite word usage, the Nickelodeon series helped us in the recall department.
When my boys were ages two and three, giving respect to others through good manners was very spontaneous. I would sing the Backyardigans’ Please and Thank you song and ask questions like “Is it nice to be polite, yes or no?” “Aside from please and thank you, what else does the Backyardigans love to say?” I would do all these while cooking or washing dishes and then my boys would do the dancing. It sure worked better than lecturing.
“Please and thank you gets you practically anything you want with a smile.”
Backyardigans also helped to explain the benefits of being appreciative, polite and respectful. Kids in their first three years are naturally self-seeking. By letting my boys know that respect has its reward, I was able to get down on their level. Reward is the currency of children’s culture and the creative team of Backyardigans knew it. By acknowledging my boys’ need for appreciation, I was able to convey effectively that their efforts were worthy and valued.
Photo Credit: Nick Jr.
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