Good Manners for Children
In examining the importance of manners, it becomes clear why good manners for children are an important life lesson.
Good manners are not only a good way to show respect, but also for the child to earn respect.
Before examining what to teach, let's first examine some techniques for teaching good manners.
- Positive reinforcement: Look for the good in what your child has done and build from there. What's the saying: You catch a lot more flies with honey. So it is with children. Negative reinforcement (calling the child a slob or some other condensing name) will only cause hurt feelings and is not an environment for learning.
- Be a role model: Little pictures have big ears, and children will pick up exactly what you don't want them to say and use it perfectly at exactly the wrong time. Your example is the best teacher for how to act appropriately.
- Don't lecture: Tell him/her what she did wrong, but a 15 minute dissertation will do you no good. His attention span is just not that long. It is better to show them how to act appropriately.
- Be consistent: It is important that good manners for children are well understood. Being okay sometimes will only serve to confuse the child. Do not leave it up to the child to know when they right time is ...that is the adult's job.
- Approach teaching manners as a game: Kids love to play and making something fun will make the child a willing participant in learning good manners for children.
- Make the child part of the family traditions: Allowing the child to be part of the big events, and displaying her manners, will give her a feeling of being proud when all of the adults compliment her.
- Eat out for dinner: Let the child know this is a reward for him displaying his good manners and an opportunity to show everyone his manners.
Now that we examined some of the techniques, and as you notice, they are cumulative, let's examine what some of the good manners for children are:
- Waiting his turn: This is to teach the child patience and the beginning of respect for others. Up to now, he has been the center of the universe. This is the beginning of the child realizing he is part of society.
- Not interrupting: As important as the child believes what she has to say, it is essential that the child begin to learn the techniques of listening and allowing others to have their say.
- No name calling: This is a lesson learned from what you do as much as what you say. It is important to teach the child at a young age that name calling is not acceptable. Allowing this to go could lead to bullying.
- Proper greeting: Teaching children to greet adults by "Mr." and "Mrs." seems to be somewhat of a lost art in today's society. This is one of the ways for the child to demonstrate respect to non-related adults.
- Cleaning up: This is a way for the child to show respect for both his parents and his things. It also gives the child a sense of responsibility.
- Please & thank you: The "magic words" as some people have termed it, is usually one of the first things taught as the child begins to understand the importance of manners.
- Taking compliments courteously: Teaching the child how to take compliments in the correct way will be the finishing touches on the manners lessons.
- Good sportsmanship: As the child starts to participate with others, be it in sports or some other competitive endeavor, it is important that the child understands how to be both a good winner and good loser. In the case of winning, the child needs to react with class and respect for the opponent. In losing, the child must learn to see ways to improve as a team and individual.
- Respecting differences: This is key to the child allowing herself to have the opportunity to learn from cultures that are perhaps outside of her norm. Teaching the ability to be open minded is important.
- Table manners: When people think of teaching manners, most thing of teaching table manners. Here is a section on table manners.
- Back talk: Teaching the child to respect his elders is the important lesson. Nothing can cause a situation to unravel faster than back talking by the child to a parent or other adult supervisor.
- Trips to the bathroom: The key here is teaching the child how to let a parent or other supervising adult know she has to go to the bathroom without making a grand announcement. In addition, teaching the child to limit the times to go to the bathroom (because they need to go and not because it is fun to go) while in public is also important.
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