“The hardest job kids face today is learning good manners without seeing any.”
It is unfortunate that we are raising our children in a world where good manners are oft neglected. Yes, children are being taught how to say ‘please’ and ‘thank you’ and those basic niceties, but it is often forgotten that good manners go beyond just saying ‘please’ and ‘thank you’. It is a great responsibility on us as parents to raise our children to be kind, considerate, and polite individuals, and we need to remember that these things are not just taught, they are instilled. Good manners are a sign of a kind person, a person who is considerate of others, a person who respects others. Teaching and instilling good manners in our children from early on goes to ensure that being polite and considerate eventually becomes a part of their personalities.
Over the course of a few posts, I intend to discuss some basic manners that I believe are essential to instill in our children. But before I do that, there are some things we need to understand about introducing new concepts to children:
- Introduce a new concept to children once every few weeks, and help them practice it. Prompt them and praise them. Children need time, and they need encouragement and appreciation. Go slow and steady, and don’t burden them with too many things to do all at once. Take it one by one.
- Keep your expectations in check. Children have limitations. New concepts can sometimes be hard to grasp and even harder to apply properly. If it takes months for them to learn one thing, let it be. Let them take their time. Expecting them to learn everything in one go and start acting like adults overnight is unrealistic. Teach and expect only as much as they’re able to do at once.
- Remember that children learn best from actions. Show them good manners to teach them good manners. If you’re expecting them to say ‘please’ and ‘thank you’ and not using those niceties yourself, you can’t expect them to use them either. Show them respect and politeness to teach them respect and politeness, whether you may be dealing with others or your family.
- Be consistent. Don’t lose heart or give up if you feel they don’t understand. Consistency is key no matter what you may be trying with little children. If they don’t get it the first few times, they definitely will by the 50th. But if you give up, they’ll get the idea that it is not as important as you were making it seem.
- Make sure both parents, and/or all caregivers are on the same page. This is actually part of being consistent. If a child sees one parent being nice and considerate, but not the other, it confuses them and makes them feel that it’s okay to not act the way they’re being taught to. Don’t let that happen.
Of course, these points apply to not just teaching children good manners but to pretty much all aspects of parenting.
What do you think are some important points to remember while trying to teach kids to be better people?
Come back next week to read about what I feel are some basic social manners children need to learn.
Disclaimer: I am no parenting expert. Just a mother who is learning on the job and trying to incorporate into my parenting, whenever applicable, what I saw my parents do, and what I have learned from other parents too. 🙂