Monday, March 9, 2009

Give Me "Five"

"I would love to hear about how to teach children to have good manners. This is very important to me that my dd has good social graces. I believe this is to show respect for herself and others. She's turning 2 next week, so I know the best way is by example. But I would love to hear tips and such to use when she is older."

I love this question, thank you for asking it. As my children grow, I've come to understand that manners and etiquette truly come as a process in life. We learn simple things as small children, like how to say please and thank you (as early as 1 1/2 or 2) and as we grow, we learn not to hit, to say "sorry", to take turns, etc. These things are all part of the process.

As far as sitting down and teaching manners to children, I have come up with some things that I feel are important to teach my children, so that's the experience that I can talk about.

  1. To treat every person with respect-It's crucial to teach our children that though every person is different, every person has the right to be treated with basic human respect. This does not mean that we trust every person, that we place ourselves in dangerous situations, but that we treat others with kindness whenever possible. I've talked about this before here.
  2. Answer the phone well- I know this may sound silly, but first impressions say a lot. I have taught my children to say, "Hello "Smiths" this is "Carlie" speaking. May I please ask who's calling? One moment please. Then they are never to yell at me to summon me to the phone, they are to leave the phone and come find me, or bring the phone to me. It's a privilege in our home to answer the phone, not a right.
  3. Give me "Five"- Please, Thank you, I'm sorry, Excuse me (or pardon me), and you're welcome which goes along with this post. These are things that every child needs to learn how to say. They need to also understand how to be sincere in saying these things. Sincerity of heart starts with our example.
  4. Adults are not their equals- Children need to learn not to be afraid of adults, but to respect their elders. This is not an outdated concept as some would have us believe, but a lost art. People who are older than we are have more experience and wisdom than we do, and that position demands our respect. We need to teach our children that the most wise people they will ever know will be their grandparents if they have them, or the elderly people in their life. If they don't have the privilege of having grandparents, take them to a retirement home and volunteer there as a family. Let your children interact with the people there, you may be surprised to find out just how much these wonderful people have to say and how much we have to learn. I know these experiences in my life have been very fulfilling and spending quality time with my grandmother every weekend growing up brings back fond memories...she taught me to love some of the finer things in life.
Here are a few more ideas from a previous post called, "My top Five" which deals with some other crucial manners to teach our children.


Nicol said...

Thank you for answering my question! Everyday is a work in progress and everyday we are getting better and better. I think that is one thing to remember that is takes practice for children to get it right. Great tips that I will be working on with my dd.

Jessica said...

These are great tips. Thanks!!

Lauren said...

I just wanted to let you know that I love your blog!

Chablis said...

Great post!! I'm enthrawled with your wealth of knowledge.

Victoria said...

I taught my children to ask "May I be excused please?" when they were done with dinner. I didn't want them rushing off just because they'd finished their food - it's important to me that everyone waits until all are done eating. A lot of good conversation can go on in the interim.

Also, I told them early on that asking me in front of their friend(s) if the friend can stay for dinner or overnight or whatever, was an automatic NO. They had to seek me out alone to ask. This way if we needed to discuss the issue, it was not in front of their friend. If they didn't comply I simply said, "Sorry, automatic no, you know the rules". It didn't take them long to learn this one!