By Joyce Reyes-Aguila
When children behave well, a family is lauded for raising their young ones well. But when a child misbehaves, they get criticized for many things – primarily for not passing on good manners to them. Since the home is the earliest venue for kids to interact socially, it is expected that it’s here where they learn how to act around or react to different people or situations. This early socialization is expected to eventually mold them into polite and respectful individuals who conduct themselves properly outside of their abodes.
When children are taught good manners, they learn much more than just knowing how to act right. Being polite and respectful will “set children (up) for a lifetime of success with family, friends, and coworkers” wrote Ellen Sturm Niz of parenting.com in her article “10 Manners Parents Should Be Teaching Their Kids But Aren’t.” In her interview with Sheryl Eberly, author of “365 Manners Kids Should Know: Games, Activities, and Other Fun Ways to Help Children and Teens Learn Etiquette,”Niz relayed from the expert that good manners also help a “child act towards others with respect and take into account their feelings” aside from gaining “the confidence that comes from knowing the right thing to do.”
As you instill the right behavior to your young ones, we know you are keeping these good manners in mind. Right?
1. Learning to say “Thank you” and “Please.”
It sounds so simple, but the practice of saying these magic words is never really impressed on some children. After they receive gifts or favors, parents often ask their kids “What do you say?” to gently prod them to show gratitude to others. Never tire of repeating reminders when it comes to good manners because practicing these deeds repeatedly will help instill these ways in them naturally.
2. Being nice to visitors.
Even in your own home where they are most comfortable, children should be reminded to receive other people properly. Teach them how to address adults respectfully and what they can do to make them welcome in your home. Sadly, some children prefer to stay in their rooms when their parents have company or go out to greet their guests before retreating to their rooms for the rest of the day. Explain the importance of being good hosts to your young ones early on. And how they should be equally respectful and behaved when visiting the homes of others.
3. Pitching in house chores.
Yes, letting your kids contribute to a productive household is teaching them good manners. Doing their share in your home enables them to understand how your family moves as a unit, and how easy or hard it is to cook a meal they eat or clean a room they sleep in. Chores teach kids to be proactive, a habit they will be lauded for when they visit their friend’s home and ask how they can help after a meal. It also equips them with skills that they need in the future like folding clothes that will be useful when they start packing for trips.
4. Respect for elders.
Instilling the concept of authority in children is vital, especially when they start going to school. You should be confident that they are able to politely converse with the parents of their friends, or address their teachers or other school personnel with respect. Within the family, remind your kids to greet older members during family gatherings. Depending on your family’s practice, teach them to kiss relatives on the cheek or make “mano”whenthey see them.Remind them that is never wise to interrupt adults during conversation, and to properly excuse themselves when they need to speak with you or stand up from the dining table during meals.
5. Praying before meals.
One of the most memorable moments of a child’s life is when he or she is able to say grace before a family meal for the first time. They are able to show how they pray in school and even recite the prayers taught to them. You can start this habit early on,even before they attend school. Show your kids how to make the sign of the cross and let them say grace, no matter how simple their prayer is. You can also let them follow you after you say a prayer so you can hear what they are grateful for before a meal.
While a toddler may not have a basic understanding of empathy yet, a toddler between two and half to three years old can understand “but may be too caught up in his own affairs to do it on his own,” says Isadora Fox in her article “Teaching Kids to Mind Their Manners” for parents.com. She suggests playing on your child’s empathy after he or she snatches a toy from a playmate or hitting someone by saying “We don’t hit; hitting hurts” or “When we hurt someone, we say, ‘I’m sorry.'”
7. Being mindful of others.
In another article entitled “Why and How to Teach Your Kids Mindfulness,” Niz shares that being mindful helps kids focus, manage stress, and regulate emotions, among others. Mindfulness increases compassion for others, mindfulness educator Danielle Mahoney tells Niz. Children learn how to respond to situations and “wonder about their own thoughts, emotions, and body sensations,” says Mahoney. The article suggests a “brain break” for children at home to allow them to decompress during an activity or in between two tasks.
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