I completely agree that children are never too young to learn good manners and it should start right from birth and not wait until they are off schooling age. Even before they could talk when it’s just us talking to them, we ourselves have to get into the habit of practicing common forms of courtesy when interacting with them. Eventually, when they are old enough to imitate and understand they will follow suit.
My eldest child who is 7 now sometimes speaks and act like I do. I have my crazy mom moments which I’m not proud off, like the occasional (ok maybe more that I’d like to admit) raising my voice to get my message across. When that happens, I tend to forget my manners. I’m not perfect and she’s there to remind me to keep my manners in checked. So it’s still a work in progress for all of us (my husband and son included) so here are some common courtesy practice we should teach our children.
Source: Children’s Publishing – Your children are never too young to learn good manners. Actually, in today’s world where we are seeing more and more younglings exhibiting misbehavior and bad manners, it seems more important now for parents to start teaching courtesy to their children as early as possible.
The following are the common forms of courtesy that you must impart to your children:
#1 Magic Words: “Please” and “Thank you”
According to the well-loved Barney the purple dinosaur, these are magic words. Developing good breeding starts with learning when to say “please” and “thank you.”
Teach your child to say “please” every time he/she needs a favor and to say “thank you” every time a favor is done for him/her.
#2 Good table manners
Good manners extend to the dining area as well. It is important to teach your kids the following table etiquette:
- Wash your hands before eating
- Keep your mouth closed as you chew
- Don’t talk when your mouth is full
- Place the table napkin on your lap
- Wipe your mouth with napkin
When your kids practice these at home, they will know how to act appropriately when you bring them with you at dinners and gatherings.
#3 Ask before you take
When a kid takes something from another kid without any permission at all, it can create conflict – not only between the younglings, but between the parents as well. Teach your kids to ask before taking something that isn’t theirs. The lack of knowledge of this etiquette may result in bigger problems, such as theft, as your kid becomes older.
#4 Knock before entering
One way of being polite is by knocking on the door before entering a room. Whether it is the bedroom, bathroom, or any other room in your home or in other places, your kid must learn how to knock.
#5 Say sorry because you mean it
These days, the word “sorry” is spoken by a lot of people without actually meaning it. The best way to instill empathy and sincerity into your child is by teaching him/her how to say “sorry” when he/she truly feels sorry.
#6 Don’t point at people
When you were a kid, your parents probably told you that when you point your finger at a person, your other three fingers are pointing back at you. Pass this wisdom to your kids too. In many cultures, just like in America and Europe, pointing a finger at someone is considered as a rude gesture because it hints superiority over someone.
#7 Cover the mouth when sneezing or coughing
Covering the mouth when sneezing or coughing isn’t only a form of good manners, but it also promotes good hygiene as it inhibits bacteria from spreading and infecting other people. Teach your children this kind of manner as early as possible, even before he/she starts going to school.
#8 “Excuse me”
Kids are impatient by nature. If they need something from you, they’ll ask for it right there and then, even when you’re in the middle of something. You may have noticed some kids interrupt their parent’s conversation with other people, calling out to the mother or father repeatedly, and in return, the parent gets angry at the kid for doing so. Refine your kid’s upbringing by teaching him/her how to say “excuse me.”
#9 “Hello” and “Goodbye”
Teaching kids social graces such as “hello” and “goodbye” is not only a way to develop respect and good manners, but a way to develop their social skills. It encourages them to talk and recognize other people’s presence.
Tip: Practice what you preach. You will be more effective in imparting good manners and right conduct on your kids if they see that you are applying these to yourself as well.