The other day I heard my three year old barking orders, as she routinely does, to her six year old brother.
“Carry my baby!”
“Pick up that blanket!”
“Put down her bottle!”
“Hello? Are you listening to me?”
I was just about to step in and reprimand her for not using her nice words when my son quietly said, “Keeley, maybe you should try saying please.”
Out of the mouths of babes…..
Here’s the deal.
Manners are important. Being polite is a must. And it seems a dying character.
Remember the days when you’d visit grandma and get a refresher course on polite verses impolite…..
“It’s not polite to talk with your mouth full, dear.”
“It’s not polite to interrupt, dear.”
“Polite children say please.”
“Polite children always say thank you.”
And if you weren’t polite, well, let’s just grandma had a way of making sure you minded your manners.
As parents it is our job to teach our children the art of being polite. And luckily for us, kids give us many teachable moments to do just that! Starting in our homes, we need to reinforce the importance of using polite words, addressing adults with respect, and putting others before ourselves. With persistence and consistency, our kids CAN be taught how to be polite and considerate of others. Others will notice. And Grandma will be so proud.
7 MANNERS TO TEACH YOUR KIDS
1. Always say “please” when asking, thank you when receiving, and “excuse me” when bumping.
Simple, right? And yet it is astonishing how many times these seemingly simple manners are ignored, forgotten, or neglected. Set an example. When asking your kids to do something, say please. Thank them for listening. And always apologize when wrong, even if it’s just an accident.
2. Be quick to listen and slow to speak.
Let others finish before you begin speaking. Show an interest in what they have to say before sharing what you want to say. Learn how to be silent. Sometimes not speaking speaks louder than any words we could say.
3. Be present.
Put down the electronics. Turn off the TV. Silence your phone. Give your full attention to those in front of you. Make sure you are enforcing that the people in your life are way more important than the things in your life.
4. Look people in the eye when speaking to them.
Visual contact is the first clue that you are engaged and listening. Make eye contact. Nod your head. Smile. Let the speaker know you are listening. And show them you are present.
5. Respect your elders.
Say “Yes, ma’am” and “Yes, sir” when speaking to adults. Address them with either “Mr.” or “Ms.” And always show them respect, even when you may not agree with what they have to say. Respect isn’t earned. It is given freely and reflects your character more than the character of the one you are showing respect to.
6. Be friendly.
Greet others with a “Hello, how are you?” Shake hands. Wish them a nice day. Kindness goes a long way , especially to someone who has been having a bad day. Friendliness doesn’t require money or extra time. It’s something we all can give away.
7. Be Courteous.
Open doors for others and let them walk through first. Give up your seat. Allow someone else ahead of you in line. Ignore it when someone isn’t courteous back to you. You always have a choice on how you react. Choose courtesy.
Teaching manners to our children isn’t just about teaching them to be polite. It goes deeper. Manners teach humility, consideration, and kindness. It’s about putting others first. As parents we need to model this in our own lives. Don’t just be polite. Live polite.
And that is a profound lesson in a selfie centered world.