No matter how young your child is, basic manners are something that he/she should conform to – there shouldn’t be any exception to this rule. You can’t expect your child to be perfect and well-behaved all the time; let us face it as parents we are not perfect always as well! Having said that, it is imperative, as parents to set an example for them and be their role models. So be very careful how you behave in front of your child. Now, there are etiquette classes and schools to teach your child the proper mannerisms, but it all starts at home! Saying ‘thank you’ and ‘please’ are common courtesy which a child should pick up as early as possible.
Inculcating these manners at an early stage will help in the long run, as good manners will become a habit for them and not just a trick that they pull out of their sleeves when needed. Good manners are also important when it comes to making friends and having a social life – for you and the child as well. Nobody likes to be around an ill-tempered, rude child! At school your child might have problems making friends and this could become a recurring trend in his/her adult life as well!
So, remember when you teaching them manners, you are actually preparing them for the long journey of life! Here are 10 manners that a child should learn:
1)When your child asks for something he/she should say ‘please’. For example: “Can I please have a slice of cake mom?”
2)When your child gets something from anyone he/she should say ‘thanks’.
3)If you are in the middle of a conversation, your child should learn not to interrupt unless it is an emergency. For this you need to explain it to your child that if many people talk at the same time no one can be understood so he/she should be patient.
4)Greeting visitors or guests is also part of them learning good manners. Saying ‘hello’, ‘hi’, ‘namaste’ whenever they meet someone is a must!
5)While it is not imperative for them to know which spoon to use for what purpose, but basic table manners are something that they should learn. Encourage them to finish their veggies and to not play with their food. If they don’t want to eat anymore, they should ask politely if they are done instead of throwing food around.
6)If they do something wrong or break something, teach them to say ‘sorry’. Make sure you don’t make them feel too guilty. If they apologise sincerely give them a slight punishment so that they know there are consequences, but don’t be too harsh on them. Otherwise next time they might not say anything out of fear or they will grow up to become defensive.
7) When they need to talk to someone or need to get someone’s attention teach them to say ‘excuse me’.
8) Teach your child not to comment on how people look or their physical attributes – this is something most children pick up from adults. So, be very careful what you say in front of them. Instead teach them to be appreciative and compliment people.
9) Whenever they visit their friends or relatives, they should thank them for their hospitality.
10)Before entering any room, they should knock on the door. And as parents you should extend the same courtesy to your children.
Use these phrases yourself so they know it is the polite way to talk. Give them incentives at the end of a fortnight or a month for behaving well. And then, there is always Santa Claus to remind a child to be nice and not naughty!