Have you ever cringed at your child’s reactions and manners in social situations? If you have, you are not alone. Etiquette mishaps are very common for kids. They are just learning the ropes on how to behave appropriately in many different situations.
Teaching kids manners in a somewhat impolite (read rude) society is not always an easy job. It is especially frustrating, when it is other parents that undermine your hard work. From the little league coach that curses in frustration for everyone to hear, to the school bus driver yelling at the kids to “sit down and shut-up”.
Raising well-mannered kids goes far beyond teaching basic table etiquette. Other traits include learning to share; apologizing; saying “please,” “thank you” and “excuse me;” showing respect for others; and curbing “gross” behavior like nose-picking and potty talk.
Establish family values early. If you don’t want your children to run indoors, jump on furniture, color on the walls, gently correct your child when they are young. If kids are expected to sit still during meals and clear their plates after; start working with them as soon as they are developmentally ready for these tasks. The end game is to make using good manners a habit, something your kids will begin to do automatically – whether you’re around or not.
Practice, Practice, Practice
Want your tween or teen to introduce themselves with confidence? Teach them proper introduction skills to help them make a good first impression. Work with them and remind them to make eye contact and practice shaking hands. Some kids are just more at ease introducing themselves than others. Shy, introverted kids will truly benefit from some practice runs, so they’ll know what to do when the occasion arises.
Model, Model, Model
Kids learn by example. Practice what you preach and use good manners in your interactions with them as well as others. Make sure your children understand what your expectations for them are. Again, it’s about how you act as a family and not necessarily about how other kids or adults act. It’s a constant battle teaching kids good manners. Some days, it goes well, some days not so much. The key thing to keep in mind is to just keep at it.
How do you teach your kids good manners and etiquette? Tell us in the comments section below.