Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Children’s Etiquette - By Cara Potapshyn Meyers

My son is truly a good kid, inside and out. He has demonstrated these admirable qualities over his toddler, preschool and now elementary school years. However, I have been noticing that since the social mores of the school environment are slowly seeping into my son’s world, so are some less desirable traits. Because I know how good a person my son has the potential to be, I am working (and fighting) hard to instill some manners and overall good social habits into my son, so that he continues on the right path regardless of undesirable social and environmental influences.

I came upon an article in the March 2011 issue of Parents magazine that caught my eye. It was titled, “25 Manners Every Kid Needs By Age 9.” I felt that it was worth blogging about and reproducing (with permission from Parents magazine), because even the best parent can always use a little brushing up on their own etiquette skills from time to time! So here are the 25 most important manners:

1. When asking for something, say “Please.”

2. When receiving something,say “Thank you.”

3.  Do not interrupt grown-ups who are speaking with each other unless there is an  emergency. They will notice you and respond when they are finished talking. 

4. If they don’t, you can always insert a polite, “Excuse me,” to capture their attention.

5. When you have any doubt about doing something, ask permission first. It can save  you from many hours of grief later.

6. The world is not interested in what you dislike. Keep negative opinions to yourself, or between you and your friends, and out of earshot of adults.

7. Do not comment on other’s physical characteristics unless, of course, it’s to compliment them, which is always welcome.

8. When people ask you how you are, tell them and then ask them how they are.

9. When you have spent time at a friend’s house (or a party), remember to thank his or her parents for having you as their guest and for the good time you had.

10. Knock on closed doors - and wait to see if there is a response - before entering.

11. When you make a phone call, introduce yourself first and then ask if you can speak with the person you are calling.

12. Say “thank you” for any gift you receive. In the age of e-mail, a handwritten thank-you note can have a powerful effect.

13. Never use foul language in front of adults. It’s rude and unnecessary.

14. Don’t call people mean names.

15. Do not make fun of anyone for any reason. Teasing shows others you are weak, and ganging up on someone else is cruel.

16. Even if a play or an assembly is boring, sit through it quietly and pretend that you are interested. The performers and presenters are doing their best.

17. If you bump into somebody, immediately say, “Excuse Me.”

18. Cover your mouth when you cough or sneeze.

19. As you walk through a door, look to see if you can hold it open for someone else.

20. If you see a parent, teacher or neighbor working on something, ask if you can help. You just might learn something.

21. When an adult asks you for a favor, do it without grumbling and with a smile.

22. When someone helps you, say, “Thank you.” This is especially true with teachers.

23. Use eating utensils properly. If you are unsure, ask your parents to teach you or watch what other adults do.

24. Keep a napkin on your lap; Use it to wipe your mouth when necessary.

25. Don’t reach for things at the table; Ask them to have them passed.

It looks as if my son has quite a bit of work ahead of him! I will be posting this list in the kitchen and referring to it often! My son has many of the “basics” down, such as covering his nose and mouth when he coughs or sneezes. But the napkin on the lap rule definitely needs work. Plus, I am tired of looking at the right sleeve of his shirts, as I sort laundry, to see whether he used it as a napkin or not!

Even if the majority of these suggestions are implemented, you will have children who are pleasant to be around, no matter what the situation. And even more so, if you model these suggestions, your child will pick up these “habits” even more quickly! Try it! Together we can all make the world a nicer, happier place!

I would like to thank Parents magazine and the original author of this article, David Lowry, Ph.D., for allowing these suggestions to be circulated in order to reach as broad an audience as possible. Please use the web link to download a copy for yourself.

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