Last week I talked about the importance of teaching our children good manners early on, and some things to remember while doing that.
Today I am sharing some basic social manners that children should be taught and prompted towards as they grow up and begin to understand instructions. Although my girls are too small to understand all of these yet, I still keep prompting my older daughter very gently (since my younger one’s only 3 months old) so that someday these will become a part of her personality and she won’t have to think before acting this way when she’s older or be told to do so either.
One thing for us to understand is that there is a difference between etiquette and good manners. While etiquette is generally a code of behavior that should be followed, a protocol if you will, depending on different times and social settings we may be in, good manners are a consideration for others and our general behavior towards them in all settings.
Here are some basic good manners that I believe are important for our children to learn and implement (and for us to show them) whether inside their homes or outside:
- Stand up to show respect: Stand up to say hello, to say goodbye, or to talk to someone who is standing while you sit. Acknowledge anyone who enters or exits the house by standing up and saying hello, or goodbye at the door. In our house, this means saying ‘salaam’ when someone comes in, and ‘Allah hafiz’ when they leave, including their parents.
- Offer your seat to others: If you see someone older than you standing without a place to sit, stand up and offer your seat to them. Do this with anyone who may seem like they need a seat more than you.
- Be considerate of people’s physical space: Move out of the way and make space for people- while you walk, on the stairs, or anywhere. Move out of the way, and don’t block anyone’s path. If someone’s in your path, don’t push or shove, say excuse me and they will make way for you.
- Hold the door open: Do this for those very close behind you while you walk through a door, and rush to hold it open for someone ahead of you who may be struggling with it- may be someone who’s older, in a wheelchair, pushing a stroller, or holding a baby.
- Do not interrupt anyone while they’re talking: Always stand by, say excuse me once, and then wait for them to turn to you and talk to you.
- Respect people’s belongings: Do not take anyone’s toys, books, or things without asking permission and hearing a ‘yes’.
- Knock: Always knock and wait for an answer before entering a room.
- Address your elders with their proper titles: Don’t just start using their first names. Use Mr. or Ms., or whatever titles your parents teach you to call them by. In a desi household, this may very well include using what we call ‘aap janaab’- aap le lijiye, aap kar dijiye.
- Cover your mouth when you cough or sneeze: Not only is it rude to cough or sneeze in people’s faces, it is also unhygienic.
- Be willing to help others out: If someone asks you for some help, or looks like they need help, and it is within your capacity to be able to do it, do it. Get someone a glass of water, hand them their bag, pick up something they may have dropped.
- Let others sleep: If someone’s asleep, make as little noise as possible around them, and make sure you do not disturb them.
What, according to you, are some important basics to teach children to take care of in social settings and even at home?
Come back next week for dinner table manners to teach children and, of course, take care of ourselves too because, hey, we’re their role models, aren’t we?!
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. 🙂