Everyone wants a well-mannered child. But with all the responsibilities that parents are already juggling on a daily basis, teaching your child right from wrong and how to act is sometimes put on the back burner.Most parents know what it’s like to feel shocked and embarrassed in front of other adults when their child exhibits bad manners.
The cold hard truth is that parents learn from imitating their parents. If you want them to practice appropriate mannerisms, then they need to observe them first. These are the same mannerisms that your parents taught you when you were small.
Cover the basics by teaching your kids the five following manners:
1. Saying “please” and “thank you.”
You’d be surprised how infrequently these phrases are heard in polite conversation these days. Kids just don’t know the etiquette. When someone gives you something, the proper reply is “thank you.” It conveys respect and appreciation. When you ask for something, end your statement or question with “please.” It also conveys respect and graciousness.
2. Greeting someone.
Pay attention to how many people actually say the word “hello” to you today. Proper etiquette is to say the greeting when you enter a room where people are already gathered. Even if the other person or people don’t return the greeting, extending this greeting shows kindness and respect to others.
3. Answering the telephone.
When picking up the receiver, yelling “huh” into the line isn’t the proper way to speak to someone on the other end. Always say “hello” first. Once the pleasantries are out of the way, then the other person can state their business if they are the one calling you. If you’re calling someone, state your name and the purpose of your call after the greeting.
4. Practice selflessness.
In a nutshell, practicing selflessness means showing consideration for others, e.g. holding a door open for someone behind you, taking the grocery bags in the house for mom, allowing an older person to have your seat on the bus. Do these things for others and your children will eventually model your good behavior.
5. Waiting for your turn to speak.
Try not to interrupt your children when you’re having family conversations or one-on-one chats, and they’ll learn how to listen and speak when the other person is done speaking. Interrupting is not totally avoidable, as sometimes interruption is a part of normal conversation flow, but in excess it’s just rude.
Mastering manners teaches responsibility, sensitivity, respect, and maturity, and stacks the odds in favor of your child growing into a well-adjusted and viable citizen in their community and the world beyond.