Apart from keeping our children safe and healthy, we also need to teach our children good manners.
Good old fashioned manners do not come naturally to any child. This behavior needs to be taught in the home and will stand them in good stead for when they are outside of your care.
How will good manners benefit the children?
As a mom I want my children to be happy, to have friends and to have healthy self-esteems. In order to achieve this, I need to equip them with good manners and social etiquette so that they will be more likable, a pleasure to teach and sought after for friendships.
Teaching our kids good manners will not only serve them well in life but also ensure that they develop socially which means that they will be able to thrive in any environment.”
At what age can good manners be taught?
Children are never too old or too young to learn good manners. A hypno-therapist once told me that children are very susceptible to the power of suggestion. So if making a point of teaching your child some good old fashioned manners has not really been a focus for you yet, start immediately.
Parenting is an on-going permanent job and it’s great to know that when we do overlook things or make mistakes we get a do-over!
As a parent I need to be consistent in teaching good manners to the children until good manners become a habit.
Teaching a child good manner is a lifelong lesson that will take years of reinforcement and encouragement. Children learn best by example so being polite and exercising good manners should be a family practice.
5 good manners to teach your child:
1) Saying please and thank you
Teach your children to say “please” and “thank you” by having them hear you say it. Never forget to thank them when they hand you something.
In our home we also say “you’re welcome” after someone has thanked us. Ever since our kids were babies, we have used “please”, “thank you” and “you’re welcome”. They now habitually repeat these phrases even when you forget to say “thank you” yourself!
2) Greet a guest in your home in a proper manner
A guest in your house must be greeted in a proper manner and made to feel welcome whether it is a close relative or a stranger. If the person is a stranger to your kids, guide them by providing the proper address for the guest so that they feel more confident to greet for example “Could you please come over here and say hello to Mr. Smith?“.
3) Teach your children not to interrupt a conversation
I die a thousand deaths everytime my kids interrupt a conversation I am having with someone else (which happens often). I explain to my kids often that unless it’s an emergency for example someone is sick, hurt or dying it is just plain rude to interrupt a conversation. I always ask them afterwards when we are alone if what they had to say was really more important than everyone elses words at the time. The answer is always no.
Things have gotten a bit easier in this regard since I read some very good advice over on the House of Hendrix blog called the “The Interrupt rule“. You teach them to subtely place their hand on your shoulder and wait until you are done speaking and then you give them your full attention. This has so many benefits namely teaching your kids patience and also how to interrupt an elder in a very respectful manner.
I used a ten-day school break to teach my kids this method and I must say we’ve had excellent results mostly in J who is older. Little sis is still a work in progress!
4) Good table manners
As they get older teach them more and more good table manners. The basics that they should already be doing is not to talk with food in their mouths, not to burp at the table, asking if they can be excused before leaving the table and thanking the person that has prepared the meal.
If you are eating at someone elses home, they should sample a bit of everything on the table even if it is unfamiliar food. I’ve read that it is bad manners to ask your host to prepare an alternative meal for your child except in the case of allergies. Duly noted.
5) Look but don’t touch
A friend once confided in me that she would never rearrange any ornaments in her house to accommodate even the littlest visitor because children should be taught by their parents to look but not to touch. I took note of this and thereafter started teaching my kids that we need to respect other peoples property and that it is perfectly OK to admire something but not to touch unless invited to do so.
Acquiring good manners takes lots of practice and encouragement. Don’t be discouraged if you have to reinforce it many times with minimal results, it will stick eventually and the most important thing is that your children will be learning the difference between good behavior and bad behavior and with enough encouragement they will always choose right.
I’d love for you to leave a comment or suggestion below if you feel that this was helpful to you..