Rules to Help Teach Politeness to Children
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Good manners play a vital role in helping children learn to function in society. Help any child navigate the social world better with a thorough grounding in this area.
In today’s increasingly casual world, manners have assumed an ever more important role. Etiquette is not just an outdated formality. Good manners help ease the most awkward of social functions. A grounding in protocol creates a formal structure that enables people to function effortlessly in new situations although they may be essentially shy or reticent.
Manners are not only important to adults. They are also equally important to children. A polite small child is often very much admired. An adolescent can find that being courteous will make transitions to places less difficult.
Children learn what they are taught. A parent is a child’s first and often best role model. While it is not necessary to be on constant guard with one’s children, it is a good idea to stress social graces whenever possible. A spouse should be ideally be addressed respectfully at all times.
Use the Dinner Table
Dinner time is often an especially good time to demonstrate to a child how to behave properly. Parents should consider sitting next to each other in front of their children. Items can easily and politely be passed between partners. Consider inviting a guest for a formal dinner.
Many other family occasions can also become times to straightforwardly exhibit proper decorum. Even a simple visit to a grocery store can be the perfect opportunity to show children how to behave appropriately.
As soon as a child has learned to master basic functions, he can learn manners. Even a two-year-old can be taught to say “please” and “thank you”. Preschoolers can learn to share and say excuse me. Elementary school children can discover the pleasures of holding doors open and speaking respectfully to adults. Stress manners early.
Consider a Class
A class is a great way to help a child learn the rules of etiquette in a more systematic way. Many local classes are available in group settings. A group of peers can help a child feel more comfortable by giving him more opportunities to practice, without embarrassment, with students his own age. Consult the local Yellow Pages for more information.
In addition to providing basic information about manners many classes also emphasize other social skills such as dancing and instruction in how to initiate polite conversation. Such classes are appropriate for any age group and gender. Children as young as eight can relish a few evening lessons in the art of being a true grown-up.
Routines are a great way to help children. By structuring each day in a predictable manner children have a pleasant sense of what to expect. Have a child greet everyone in the family every morning in a respectful manner. Instead of rushing out the door to school as soon as possible, have a slow and leisurely family breakfast.
After school can also be a good opportunity to establish a weekday routine. Establish a certain time each day for homework. At that time make sure a child is undisturbed. Anyone who wants to talk to the child must ask permission in the politest possible manner.
Even the smallest children can easily learn to practice their manners for half an hour a day. Call it “Manners Time,” and make a certain time each day.
Don’t Expect Perfection
Children, like adults, need time to practice to become proficient. If a child fails to say “thank you” to a clerk who hands the child a balloon, a gentle reminder will suffice. When a child does remember to use manners always be sure to let the child know this act has been noticed. Basic manners may take years to master but the end result will be worth it.
Excellent manners remain one of the easiest forms of kindness and respect. They allow people to show their best side even to people they do not know. Show children how to exercise this kindness and help them grow up into better people.