Q: How Can I Teach My Child Manners & Which Manners Are Important?
It is every parent’s wish to have polite and well-mannered children. However, just like a tree that bears good fruit, it takes a lot of toil and patience to raise well-mannered children. The first thing parents can do to have well-behaved children is to model the characteristics that they desire to see in them. If you want your children to be polite, let them hear you say, “thank you” and “please”, even if it means directing those words at them. Politeness should not be exclusive to a certain age bracket or social class.
Other key tips you should consider in raising a polite child include the following:
- Correct with care. If your child does something that displeases you like making a mess of his food, talk to him about it. Get his full and undivided attention and then state what he did wrong that you are not pleased with it. Instruct him of the correct behaviour that is expected. Be positive whenever you instruct your child to do something. This shows that you are in control and are only correcting the child because you love him.
- Aside from teaching them gracious words and phrases like, “thank you”, “please”, “You are welcome” and “excuse me”, children should also be taught how to hold polite conversations. Teach them to maintain eye contact whenever they speak with someone or whenever they are spoken to.
- In keeping up with conversations, children should also understand that projecting proper body language and acknowledging the person talking are essential skills in communication. One body language that encourages further conversation is simply nodding one’s head.
- To avoid the embarrassment of having your child voice out negative opinions or comments about strangers who happen to be within earshot, don’t do this either. Don’t talk behind people’s backs. Don’t backbite. Keep your negative opinions and comments out of your child’s hearing.
- Teach your child not to interrupt when you are speaking and to always wait their turn when there is a queue. Patience forms part of good manners and children should learn to wait for your attention when you are busy doing something else. If they have to interrupt, encourge them to say, “excuse me”.
- Teach your child good manners by saying, “thank you” whenever the child does something for you. This way, the child will always remember to do the same.
- Remind your child to say please when making a request.
- Teach your children to open the door for anyone coming right behind them.
- Good manners also involves teaching children how to share. Share things with your children so they can learn and understand the importance of sharing.
- Teach your children not to do to others what they would not like done to them.
- Every child should be taught to knock on closed doors and wait for a response before going in.
- Children should be taught to cover their mouths whenever they cough or sneeze and not to pick their noses in public.
Good manners are very important in children since it forms the basis of all positive interpersonal relationships. If you teach your child basic social skills and different ways to be polite, they will be able to integrate well into their social environment with minimal hassles. As they grow up, they will become more sensitive to other people’s feelings. Start by teaching them what is acceptable and be consistent with your instructions.
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