Do you, like me, think that proper manners are going the way of the dinosaur? Do you think it's too late to teach your children proper manners? It's not! Follow the steps below and you will have polite little citizens in no time!
- Start At The Beginning. As soon as your children are able to talk, they can be taught proper manners. "Please" and "thank you" are the beginning steps, and the basics, and your child can learn them starting on day one. When your son hands you a toy, say, "thank you." If you are asking your daughter to stop screeching, say "please." You will soon find them repeating your example.
- Be Repetitious. Small children learn by repetition and consistency. EVERY time you ask your child for something, say, "please." EVERY time they give you something, say, "Thank you." If they demand something, tell them that they must say "please" before they can have it. Remind them constantly of their manners. They will quickly learn that manners are the norm and that they must use them. They will learn that in order to get what they want, they will have to be polite.
- Model Good Manners. If you yawn or cough or sneeze without covering your mouth, how can you expect your child to do it? If you don't say, "Excuse me" when you are interrupting a conversation, they will never learn to. The best way to teach your child common courtesy is to model it yourself!
- Teach Phone Manners. Teach your child to answer the phone by identifying herself. "Hello, this is Suzie Q speaking." When you are otherwise indisposed, teach them to say, "Mom is unavailable right now. May I take a message?" When you are available, teach them to say, "Yes, she is right here. Would you hold a moment please?" You will be so pleased when your friend or business associate calls and compliments you on the way your children answer the phone.
- Teach Eye Contact. When your child is speaking to an adult, teach him to look the adult in the eye and speak clearly. Mumbling or checking out his shoes is inappropriate and unacceptable. When an adult asks a question, the child should give a polite answer. Ignoring an adult, or anyone who speaks to a you, is rude and grounds for punishment. Parents tend to excuse a child from this polite behavior by saying, "Oh she's shy," when really she just hasn't been taught the proper way to be respectful of an adult.
- Teach Them To Write Thank-You Notes. Another lost art form is the thank-you note. When a child receives a gift, before he can play with it, a thank-you note should be written. Someone went to a lot of trouble to purchase that gift, and it takes but a few minutes to express appreciation for it. Older children can write a nice letter, smaller children can draw a nice picture and write, "Thank You." The littlest ones can tell mom or dad what to write, and sign their names or scribble on the paper. The person who receives the note will be tickled.
These are just a few small ways to start your child down the path to good manners. Before you know it, they will be polite little ladies and gentlemen, and will have you to thank for a great start!