Basic Children's Manners

Basic Manners - Little girl smiling at camera

For once the despairing pundits, pollsters and commentators arein agreement: children's manners are getting worse. Table manners are a thing of the past, respect for elders is out of the window, and so on.

Yet many parents riposte that it is no longer a question of manners, it's a question of natural behaviour. Their little darling may like to be louder than the town crier, may want to crawl round other people's feet in a restaurant, may need to have their parent's instant attention for their own important demands - but they're just children, and who are we to say that these natural impulses should be cramped within our own narrow view of manners?

Why not try and find a compromise between old-school stiffness and laissez-faire carelessness? Follow these basic precepts:

GOlden rules for children

Teach your child empathy from an early age. Keep reiterating remarks like "how would you feel if someone said that to you?", and you'll get your child into the habit of thinking about the impact their behaviour has on others.

Emphasise the importance of sharing. This doesn't come naturally, so you have to actually tell children to offer sweets around, give other kids a go on the swing etc. Again, repetition is valuable.

Remind them of their ps and qs. This effectively means endlessly reiterations of "say please", "say thank you"…

Teach them from the word go that violence (eg pushing and shoving) will never be tolerated.

Teach your children not to interrupt when you're speaking (to another adult or on the telephone). Again, repeated reminders work best. But don't make it a kneejerk response - sometimes your child does have something important that they urgently need to communicate to you!

Teach your child to listen carefully. This might entail them getting rewards for sitting still and listening attentively (test them and see if they can repeat what you said back to you). Listening well is an incredibly important social skill, which will prove invaluable when it comes to making conversations.

 

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