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In many ways, the society we live in is lacking certain skills that were once such a natural thing. The absence of these skills seems to be very much missed by so many people, young and old. As parents, we should do our best to develop good manners in our young ones (in my humble opinion).
I wonder if am I alone on this? Of course, I know I am not really alone with it. From the parents down to the children, something is missing. The kids do not seem to be taught.
I would challenge you to ask yourself these questions:
Do I say please to my child as I am asking them to do something?
How often do I thank my child when they are doing something I ask?
How often do you say you are sorry?
Have I said excuse me?
Have I told the kids that I appreciate them?
Did I make eye contact with my kids the last time I spoke to them?
Do I expect my children to do all these things with me?
How much do I appreciate hearing these words?
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These questions may seem like simple things to some people, but it appears that to many people these words are almost non-existent. My thought is, manners are an important part of our teachings and we as parents should try to model this behavior to our little ones.
In our home, manners are very important.
As husband and wife, we respect each other and show it by being polite to each other. Our kids have naturally learned it from watching our interactions. Without the modeling of this, we would have no clout when we try to enforce the use of these words.
In our house we use manners with our kids. It is never too early to start. Modeling behavior starts when they are infants. This starts with something so simple, as making eye contact. We teach our children to look people in the eye, especially when saying please, thank you or I’m sorry. Body language is just as important as the spoken word. With a slouched body and shifty eyes, your words can seem forced or fake.
There are so many times you can work on these skills.
One of the easiest ways to help them develop and perfect these skills is by working on them at the grocery store or while running other errands. There is no better time or place really. Using words like “excuse me”, “please” and “thank you” can make the miserable chore of shopping so much easier. There are thousands of situations that can be teachable moments when you are out in public with your children.
It is amazing to watch your fellow shoppers react as your two year old says “excuse me” while you roll your cart by them. You don’t have to prompt the little one to say it because it comes so natural to them. Or, as your five year old knocks over a display and says “I’m sorry” and “thank you for helping me clean up,” watch the people around you look in astonishment at the manners. It is refreshing for people to hear these words rather than the common stressed out parent with a tone of annoyance.
Running errands with the kids usually brings strangers to stop us. Compliments go a long way with reinforcing this skill in the kids. This does make me question humanity a bit. We are now at a point that people point out the use of manners. Society seems too used to living without manners. It seems shocking when they see or hear people use them. It is kind of sad really.
I have to wonder why there is such a lack of kindness?
Kindness does not take that much effort, but it can have such a huge impact on so many people. When a person owns up to a mistake with an apology or shows gratitude with a thank you or asks for something with a polite please, the situation becomes so much less tense. These simple words can change an entire situation in the blink of an eye.
As parents, we should always try to remember that our little ones are constantly learning from us, at every turn. They watch our every move and listen to every word spoken. They mimic us and this is how they develop. I, for one, want my children to grow up with manners, respect, grace and poise. And as they grow older, I want it to come naturally to them.
I am curious about what others think on this.
Are manners important in your home? Do you use them naturally? Do you have family expectations that they will be used?
We would love to know more about your thoughts on this topic so we too can learn from you! Please leave a comment below!
If you liked our thoughts on teaching manners, you might also enjoy our ideas on raising grateful children. Give a click right here, and we will take you to it!
Another great blog to check out is Manners To Go. We love the following post: Teach Children How to Use Good Manners in Public