Can you think of a happier day than the moment you realise how much you love your child? Of course, no parent is going to say it’s easy, but just realising how much you’re blessed with a smaller you is priceless. It changes you; you’re kinder, wiser, more understanding and your patience is tested limitless.
As early as your child learns how to interact and socialise, lessons of proper etiquette and manners should be taught. Where? It always starts at home.
How Can You Teach Your Child Proper Etiquette And Manners?
Parenting is nowhere near a walk in the park. The responsibility of being a parent also lies in how you raise your child and how they turn out to be. People won’t see your child misbehaving and say it’s their fault, it will always be your responsibility. So, when do you start? Right now.
1) Be a role model.
Kids don’t listen to words, they follow actions. If they see you doing it, they’ll copy you or ask you why you’re doing it. Take that as an opportunity to teach them, to learn something. This is also a great window for you to keep making healthy and positive habits.
Being a role model is eye-opening, because maybe you also missed out on some things, too. There’s always more room for improvement and learning even when you’re now a parent.
2) Expose them to social settings and show them how it is done.
There is no better way than to practice and execute manners and etiquette in public. For starters, it is not humiliating or embarrassing. Instead, it is a way to open awareness to other people who may like the idea of learning a thing or two.
If you have another parent in the midst, it is a great way to start conversations and learn together with the kids.
3) Work on positive reinforcement.
Working on positive reinforcement is important in parenting without the reward system. This is because children will always remember how they feel in a situation. When you praise them and make them happy whenever they project good behaviour, they make it a habit to show good behaviour, including manners and etiquette.
Nonetheless, positive punishments are needed to discourage certain behaviours that could lead to unguided actions at home or in public. While punishments may cause good or bad effects, it is important to remember to explain and help your child understand why they are punished or why they should discontinue certain behaviours.
If you’re trying to teach your child a lesson, teach them to assess their emotions and thoughts so they know how to express themselves as well.
4) Start teaching them manners at the table at home.
Begin with simple and age-appropriate lessons, the table is the easiest place to start. Especially with guests and simple conversations, manners and etiquette can be taught. For starters, these pointers can come in useful:
- Do not interrupt when someone is speaking. Wait until they are finished speaking. If you have something important to say, pardon yourself and ask permission to ask a question.
- Always say “please” and “thank you” at the table appropriately.
- When being asked a question at the table, finish the food in your mouth before speaking. Never speak with the mouth full.
- Always keep the sound plates and utensils made at a minimum.
- Do not throw or play with the food on your plate.
5) Practice through role-playing games.
If your child is facing some difficulty learning, especially in public, you can always take a few minutes to help them learn manners and etiquette. At home, you can practice by asking them what should be done in certain situations, how they should respond and how greetings are appropriate by who they are facing.
You can be the guest, their teacher, or a stranger and test how much they know how to interact and socialise with people in a social setting. Do not forget to praise them when they show the correct executions and teach them what needs to be done when they make a mistake instead of punishing them.
6) Always make sure you cut them some slack.
You are teaching them that they are young and do not know most things yet. It is a process, and they will learn more as they grow up.
They can’t master everything overnight, and they might make really slow progress in a week and still commit mistakes in a month. It’s normal, it’s a process. We all went through the same phase when we were younger.
Let them be kids, too. Let them learn on their own. Let them explore. At the end of the day, the most essential lesson is happiness and love is more important.
7) Make a target list for what they should learn age-appropriately.
Like them, take one step at a time. Learning is a slow process for them sometimes depending on their strong pursuit. Do one lesson at a time. They will have their whole lives to learn everything. Some pointers that need to be on your list are:
- Saying ‘Please’
- Saying ‘Thank you
- Saying ‘Sorry’ and ‘Forgive me’
- Saying ‘Excuse me’ or ‘Pardon Me’
- Chewing quietly is a sign of respect and one of the basic table manners.
- Interrupting conversations is a sign of disrespect no matter how old the people conversing are. If it is urgent, always say “excuse me” and wait for an acknowledgement.
- Comments, remarks, and suggestions are very objective in conversations, depending on the person or the topic. Do not comment or give opinions if they are unsolicited and negative. Always keep the negative comments to yourself.
- When people ask how you are, answer and ask how they are as well.
In A Nutshell…
Basic respect, manners, and etiquette are all reflections of a person, how they are raised, and how they will be perceived by others. That is why good breeding is important, not only in social settings but also at home. Your child will be judged by people and strangers, and they will always ask one question, “who is this child’s parent?” Make it a good show.
What are your thoughts on basic manners and etiquette?