As parents we know, deep down, that well-mannered children will grow to be more successful socially and professionally than children with poor manners. Polite, respectful, kind and caring individuals are more readily accepted, trusted and liked by others. It’s often challenging to instil proper conduct and etiquette in your children during the formative years, but being a good role model, teaching respect, and repeating yourself often (until you are blue in the face) are all essential parts to child rearing and in the instruction of good manners. Teaching appropriate behaviours can be a tiresome job, but like all things to do with parenting, it is so worthwhile in the end, and the best place for the learning to take root is in the family home.
Show them respect and they will respect others in return. Demonstrate respect for other family member’s physical space, thoughts, interests and needs. It’s also important to teach them to respect their elders, the authorities and Mother Earth.
Teach them proper table manners. Everything from chewing with their mouth closed to holding a fork properly will go a long way in preparing them for dining with people outside the home and making a good impression. Appropriate comportment shows caring and respect.
Introduce yourself and others. Even if your child is very young, always introduce yourselves to people you meet. Remind them to wave or say hello back when greeted.
Impart social and conversational skills. Ask them to greet guests at the door for a special party and pass appetizers around the room. Let them join the adults in conversation after dinner instead of sending them to another room for a kid’s movie. Children can learn a lot from social interaction with grown-ups.
Teach them to be courteous and kind to others, whether it’s simply holding a door open for a friend or walking a neighbour’s dog. Ask your child how these acts made them feel and if the recipient appreciated their kindness. From a quick smile to a heartfelt hug of thanks, being polite and thoughtful when interacting with others goes a long way in boosting your child’s confidence and independence. Learn more about How to Raise Charitable Children.
Define family rules and values early and follow through on them. Children need to know what is expected of them and that a code of conduct is in place for their family. This will help them be prepared for society’s rules of the game as well.
By Kristen Wint