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Teaching children manners

Most parents would love to have a polite little child that displays perfect manners as it will reflect well on them. Unfortunately, these days, the opposite is more likely to happen with your child displaying the most inappropriate behaviour at the most inopportune times. This has given rise to a demand for classes such as “Manners 4 Minors”.

It is never too early to start teaching your child basic good manners. Here are ten simple lessons that you can teach them.

  1. Children learn by example. If you say “please” and “thank you” consistently, they will do so too.
  2. Table manners can be refined at the dinner table at home, therefore parents should ensure that at least one meal is eaten daily as a family. Your child can learn how to eat politely, ask for something that is out of reach, and practise other important dining habits.
  3. If your child is going over to some one’s house, perhaps a friend or relative, go through the rules with them before they go. For example, they should greet their hosts politely, eat when served instead of asking for things, thank their hosts and not run amok.
  4. Teach children about sharing. Encourage sharing by teaching them about taking turns and using phrases such as “Let’s play with this together”, “It’s your turn now” and “Sharing is caring”.
  5. It is impolite for children to express negative opinions in public. They should keep these to themselves or tell parents privately if necessary.
  6. Talk to them about people with physical flaws and disabilities They should not stare or make negative comments about the physical characteristics of others.
  7. They should also not make fun of others or call people names.
  8. Mouths should be covered when coughing or sneezing and noses should not be picked in public.
  9. Teach children not to interrupt grown-ups when they are talking unless it is an emergency. The grown-ups will notice them and talk to them when they are done talking. If it is important, then they should say “Excuse me” to get the grown-ups’ attention.image 490
  10. If your child uses unacceptable words, go down on your knees, look them in the eye and tell them that “We don’t use words like this in our family”. If they still persist, then some other disciplinary action, such as time-out or withholding privileges may need to be utilised. Of course, it helps if your child hasn’t heard you use such words. If you are frustrated and need to express your emotions when the kids are present, try using an alternative word to do this or make up a word, such as “Oh shucks”.

Specially written for www.babiesonline.co.za by Sara Essop

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