Children should be trained in basic etiquette. Each day I feel as if the responsibility to teach our children basic manners has gone right out the window. Just how basic is basic, though? As a teacher and a Godmother, I am stickler for manners. If you don’t use them, you get nothing. My parents taught me that manners built character. Character is what defines you in life. It is the ability that allows you to draw the line on behavior.
Here are 8 steps for the basics in manners
1. Saying “Please” Saying “please” should begin as soon as your child is able to ask for something. If she’s old enough to ask for sippy cup refills, she should be able to tack a “please” onto the request.
2. Saying “Thank You” Following close on the heels of “please,” your child should be able to say “thank you” whenever she is given something. She should be able to say thank you to her parents, her teachers, other adults, and her own friends.
3. No Interruptions This one is harder for kids to grasp, but your child should not interrupt adults when they are talking. If you can at least teach your child to say, “Excuse me, ” before steamrollering your conversation, consider it a lesson taught.
4. Holding the Door for Others This is so basic, but it’s a breach of etiquette that happens all the time–even between adults. Just observe it in a busy mall on a Saturday. It’s so much more pleasant if your child learns to hold the door for you and for others. It’s even better if you can teach them not to bolt in and out of elevators.
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5. Using an “Inside Voice” Establish a rule in your house–shouting, yelling, and hollering is for outdoor use only. Inside, a normal–or even, dare we say, quiet–voice should be the norm. Again, this is a social skill that is reinforced in school, but it’s one that should be started at home.
6. Walk, Not Run Running is great exercise…for the great outdoors. The great indoors is made for walking. End of story.
7. Basic Table Manners Use a napkin, sit still in your chair, chew with your mouth closed, no smacking, no slurping. We are so often on the go, dining whenever and wherever we can, that these basic table manners are often disregarded but they are crucial to social acceptance. And they make mealtime so much more pleasant for everyone.
8. Sensitivity As a parent, you are responsible for installing a kind of social filter in your child, one that teaches her sensitivity towards others. This means that your child may be curious about people who look different or sound different than she does, but it’s not OK to point at a stranger and loudly describe his differences. Detailed explanations of race, handicaps, or other obvious differences are best had in the privacy of your home. Children leran through pets what behavior is appropriate and inappropriate. Be sure to read: 8 Guidelines For Teaching Children How To Care For Pets
Remember to teach at an age appropriate level. Once you begin the behavior children thrive with the expectation. After all, depending on your child’s age, some rules are easy to teach but others are developmentally impossible. Take it one step at a time.