by Kelley Jilek
Good manners play an important role in your child’s success in social relationships. However, children are not born with good manners! It’s up to parents and other adults to teach and reinforce them. With these tips in mind and by practicing plenty of patience, you will find that over time, your children will become respectable young people:
- Be a good role model. Children learn what they live. Make good habits part of your routine and style. Children become familiar and comfortable with what types of behavior are socially acceptable by watching the adults around them. Good manners should not be reserved for special occasions only – they should take place all the time!
- Teach and expect good manners. Teach your child to say please and thank you. Once your child has learned the appropriate way to behave and handle social situations, it is important to expect those behaviors on a regular basis. Be consistent and require good manners every day, at home and away.
- Politely rephrase. When your child states something in a less than appropriate manner, you can rephrase it for them. At meal times, for example, you might hear children say, “I HATE green beans (followed by more complaints)!” Politely correct them by saying, “Let’s say ‘I don’t care for green beans.’” Let them know that expressing dislike is appropriate it if is expressed considerately.
- Prepare your child. When you are heading to a friend’s house to visit, or even just taking a short trip to the grocery store, take time to remind your child what will be expected of her. Review good manner rules and everyone will be more likely to experience a pleasant time.
- Correct in private. As embarrassing as your child’s lack of manners may be, and despite how often mistakes seem to happen, resist the urge to reprimand him in front of others. Making a scene is embarrassing for him and showcases a few bad manners of your own!
- Accept mistakes. Young children are prone to spill and drop things. Accept that as a natural part of developing and immature motor skills. Likewise, children are often very honest with what they say, sometimes leading to social blunders! It takes time to learn maturity in social situations. Accept age-appropriate mistakes for what they are.
- Teach positively. We often assume children are purposely using bad manners whey then simply may not know what is appropriate. Be specific when you teach, explaining what is acceptable. For example, instead of saying, “Don’t eat that way!” you can respond with, “Let’s try using a fork. This is how to hold it…” Avoid nagging about the problem. Don’t raise your voice and allow your emotions to get out of control by screaming, “Quit yelling!” Instead, teach what you DO want by saying, “Please use your inside voice.”