It takes time and patience to teach your children manners. They are not born with them, and they don't naturally acquire them. So why should a parent take the time and make the effort to teach simple manners?
Let me tell you why...because teaching manners to your children will make their interactions with other adults more successful. And when your children experience positive reactions when meeting and interacting with others, it helps build their self esteem, and reflects positively on you. That is why teaching manners is a win/win proposition.
So how does one go about teaching manners? What polite behavior is most important for your children to learn? Here are three tips to help you get started:
- Start with the basics: Have your children say "please" and "thank-you" when they ask things from you. Remind them to use these simple words during your daily interactions. Make sure they understand when they are given a gift, you expect them to say thank you to the gift giver. This holds true for everything from treats at soccer practice to birthday gifts.
- Teach eye contact: Children are used to looking at screens. Let them know that looking into people's eyes while talking to them is very important. Ask your children to look into your eyes when you are speaking. You will be laying the ground work for this skill. I have heard job recruiters say that they have not hired extremely well qualified job candidates because the person was unable to make eye contact. The formation of this skill begins early. Start working on it right away.
- Talk about and model respect: Children need to learn to respect a variety of people and possessions; from teachers and coaches to toys and electronics. Respecting people and property needs to be taught. Our culture fights this concept on every level, so parents must be vigilant about teaching respect. Teach your children the concept of respecting someone's opinion even if it differs from your own. Teach them to respect themselves enough to care about what messages they share about themselves on the internet. Teach them to treat everyone with respect, from the fast food worker who takes their order to the teachers and administrators at their school.
These three concepts when taught over time will allow your children to experience the satisfaction of making a good impression with adults. These positive interactions will shape them and their future. Being a kind and polite person never goes out of style. So remember to take the time to teach the importance of simple manners.