Good manners and basic etiquette may seem like an aged and dying practice, but it certainly is not. Think for yourself how many times you’ve walked into a restaurant, only to be met by a rude waiter. It can ruin your night. What about that time you waited for over 10 minutes to park your car in the spot near the entrance of the shopping centre, only for the space to be quickly taken from you? No apology was offered and you fumed at the idea of the person’s arrogance. If you look back, it’s likely that you wondered how anyone could be so unmannered.
Every time we come into contact with people, we are required to be polite. I little bit of basic consideration goes a long way. This is why passing good manners on to your child is an excellent idea.
Admirable manners help build good first impressions and they leave lasting impressions. Some day your child will need to get a job, make friends (and keep them), interact with people. Manners are vital to all kinds of communication and help people connect with each other on a deeper level.
When to start teaching manners
As early as possible is always good. From the moment your little one is born, emulate kind and courteous behaviour. Teach your little one to say “please” and “thank you”, always. Cement this practice in her by using those words in your home and when dealing with other people.
A few quick tips on how to teach good manners
- Listen to your child, encourage her to listen to others
- Use the words excuse me. Wait your turn and encourage patience in your little one too
- Don’t lose your temper
- Don’t give in to temper tantrums
- Teach her to respect and emphasise authority
- Open the door for others
- Allow others to go first or have first choice
- Be compassionate and show empathy towards people less fortunate
- Apologise for mistakes, don’t over criticise or judge another’s mistakes
- Offer help wherever possible, get your child involved
- Make opportunities for sharing and have your child invest time in doing this as well
- Don’t ignore people when they are talking, no matter who they are
- Don’t let bad (and seemingly unrelated) behaviour slide. If your child doesn’t respect you and you let this become acceptable behaviour, she will likely adopt the same manner with other people.
- Teach good table manners. Thank the person who made the food. Excuse yourself when leaving the table. Expect this of your child too.
Teaching your child gracious and refined manners requires consistency on your part. Offer clear expectations. Both boys and girls should learn to be well-mannered and there should be no distinction between the ways you teach good behaviour to the different genders. Remember, you’ll achieve the best results when you are modelling the behaviour you want to see in your child.