Just in case you don’t know this already, a rude child is often ostracised and the parents of that child are the parents everyone else is talking about. So take it from Emily Post and me-taking the time to teach and use the following manners in your home and raise a happy, healthy, well-adjusted child.
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Please, thank you, excuse me, pardon. You know, the works – everything your child needs to get through life as pleasant human beings. These basic acts of courtesy acknowledge the existence of traits such as humility, appreciation and gratitude. They generally make your child a much more pleasant person to be around.
Interruptions should not be tolerated unless it is a matter of emergency. How disturbing is it to try to converse with a friend or family member whose child can break into the conversation at any time to have his/her needs met or to simply draw the attention to themselves? Parents should draw clear boundaries on what constitutes an emergency vs. rudely interrupting a conversation.
This is a difficult thing for toddlers to learn, so be patient but persistent. Learning to share at an early age often serves to make a child less selfish later in life with their time and resources. It also helps to allow a child to have one thing they don’t have to share with anyone (that special teddy bear or blanket, for instance).
4. Taking Turns
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Give your child opportunities to socialise with other children in situations where taking turns will naturally occur-going down the slide at the park, for instance. At home, require your children to take turns selecting a bedtime story, choosing what movie to watch, where to go for ice cream, etc.
5. Inside Voice
Children need to learn at an early age that there is a time to speak softly – even whisper-rather than shout it out for the masses to hear. Speaking softly and quietly rather than yelling in your home will make this happen a bit more naturally.
6. Hands Off
When your children are in the store or someone’s home, they need to know that the things setting on the shelves aren’t for their enjoyment, so to speak. They need to understand the boundaries of looking without touching.
NOTE: You’re not doing your children any favours by not having things like this in your home. If nothing in your home is off-limits, they naturally expect it to be that way everywhere they go.
7. Good Sportsmanship
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As soon as your child is old enough to play Candy Land or other such games, they need to know how to lose graciously. Never ‘let’ a child win. On the same token, don’t make a big deal about winning, either. Developing the philosophy of ‘you win some, you lose some’ is the healthiest attitude you can give to your child.
8. Asking For Permission
By teaching your children to ask permission before playing with the neighbourhood children, getting out their paint set, running through the sprinklers, etc., you’ll be building a foundation that will likely still be standing when they become teenagers. FYI: this is a good thing. Asking permission acknowledges authority and respect for that authority.
9. Accepting Compliments
Teach your children to honour others by giving sincere compliments to friends, family members and authority figures. While it may be cute to hear a 3 year old say ‘I know’ when she is told how pretty she is, it’s not so cute when she’s 6 or 7. Teaching your child to be humble and gracious when receiving a compliment is not only polite, but deters attitudes of entitlement and superiority during adolescence and adulthood.
10. Personal Hygiene
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It is important that your child understands the importance of personal hygiene – things such as covering their mouths when they cough and sneeze, using a tissue to wipe their noses or mouths and washing their hands after they use the toilet are of utmost importance. Not only it is dirty it also creates a breeding ground for diseases and sickness. Teach them these lessons as early as possible.
Children should be taught the importance of compassion and empathy towards anyone who is seemingly different from them – this includes everything from someone of a different race to a person faced with a disability. Children often learn from example – take this opportunity to be more mindful of how you treat other people!