In their initial years, children are like sponges. They will absorb everything they see and hear and mimic every action like a mirror.
The best way to teach your children good manners is to behave well around them and start working on them when they are as young as a year old.
Basic etiquette is best taught at this age. Here's how you can start training your children.
SAYING THE MAGIC WORDS
- Teach children the use of the six magic phrases: "May I", "Please", "Thank-you", "You're welcome", "Excuse me" and "I'm sorry".
THE RIGHT MANNERS
- Don't make a big deal of burps and messes at the table when your children are under two years old, but as they grow up, start instilling good table manners.
- Have your children hand you their plate or bowl when they have finished with a meal.
- They can slowly start helping you bring napkins and kid-friendly dinnerware to and from the table too.
- Make sure they take only as much food as they will be able to consume.
- Teaching your children to share is best taught at the table - it could be simple things like sharing a chocolate or snack with another sibling, friend or parent.
PLAYING WELL WITH OTHERS
- Another way of teaching children to share is when they are playing with their friends.
- Sharing toys and games will also help them pick up skills of taking turns and not getting their way all the time. This, in turn, will teach your children to control their temper.
- Teach your children to keep their hands to themselves and not hit anyone or indulge in name-calling.
- Teach your children to pick up toys, books and dirty clothes at the end of the day.
- Being part of games and sports will also teach your children to play fair, show sportsmanship, work as a team and accept defeat.
- In school, your children will learn to raise their hand before speaking, but they may often interrupt conversations at home. As a parent, you need to ensure you practise good listening skills for your children to do the same.
- Teach your children to introduce themselves and their friends to people they do not know. Also ensure your children use words like 'Mr', 'Mrs', 'Uncle', 'Aunty' or other formalities when addressing elders and not call them by their first names.
RESPECTING OTHERS' BELONGINGS AND PRIVACY
- Children of all ages are curious so you need to ensure your children know their boundaries.
- Children cannot ask for things that belong to others or peep into rooms, purses or other things that do not belong to them.
- Teach your children to take permission from family members and friends before they take their things like toys or games.
- At home, make door signs for everyone's bedroom to teach your children about respecting others’ space. Ask your children to knock before entering if a door is closed.
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