Raising Well-behaved Kids
You’ve probably met polite children – the kind who say “please” and “thank you,” lend a helping hand to their friends, often smile – and wished that your own children were such angels! Raising children to be courteous can be quite challenging, so parents need to be intentional about teaching manners. Here’s a step-by-step guide to help you with the job.
Children between ages 2 and 5 easily acquire good manners. They mimic what they see and are quite amenable to doing what their parents request. You can teach your child some basic social graces at this age, and encourage it in his pretend play to make it a natural part of his character. Modeling the manners you want to see in your child is the best thing that you can do at this age.
Teach them the magic words
Basic etiquette includes using words such as “please,” “thank you,” “good morning,” “good afternoon,” and “goodbye.” These are the fundamental building blocks for good social behavior. Make your kids use them repeatedly whenever the occasion arises so that it becomes a part of their habit.
Teach them about respect
Emphasize the need to respect others and tell them that they should always treat others the way they themselves would want to be treated. Teach them the importance of interacting patiently and politely with others.
Teach your children basic table manners like not talking when the mouth is full, chewing with the mouth closed, saying “thank you” when they have been served, saying “please” when they want something passed etc. Also make them understand how they should ask to be excused when they need to leave the dining table and that no one should start eating until everyone has been served.
When children are old enough to play with toy telephones, you can come up with some creative games to show how to answer phone calls with a polite “Hello” or phrases such as “May I take a message?” and “Hold on for a moment please.” You can also lay down your house rules about answering and making phone calls.
Correct impoliteness immediately
When children have behaved impolitely, you should correct them by being brief, specific, and private. Take care not to humiliate them in front of others. If your child did not acknowledge someone who greeted him on the street, you can tell him later – “It was impolite of you to ignore Mang ______ when he greeted you earlier.”
Notice their good deeds
When the time comes, don’t forget to commend them for their good deeds. If your child has behaved well at an adult dinner party, reward him with an hour at an indoor gym or wherever he wants to go. If he has been polite to his grandparents, mention that Lola liked the way he behaved with her. In short, make your child feel good about his good deeds.
Point out to your child the value of good manners, of how it will help him gain respect, admiration, and friends. Making him understand the impact of good behavior on others will motivate him to behave courteously in his daily life.
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