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Manner Magic

Why You Should be Concerned:

Experts cite several reasons why manners aren't what they used to be. One reason is that family life has become more complicated and much busier in the last few decades. Moms are busy working hard to make ends meet, taking children to their many activities, helping children with schoolwork, and occupied with housework like cooking, cleaning, and laundry. This leaves very little time for teaching the daily details of etiquette.

However, one day your child will be an adult, and in order to succeed they will need to have an appropriate awareness of the needs of others. Manners are tools for operating well in social and work situations. In other words, when your child graduates, it may be their good manners that will give them a competitive edge in a job interview. Employers are looking for people who know how to communicate with

customers and fellow employees effectively and respectfully.

What You Can Do

The best time to teach manners is when children are young. The best way to teach manners is to model them for your child. A picture is worth a thousand words to a child, and you can provide a picture that will stay with them forever. You can also give your child positive reinforcement when they use manners well. At first they may feel the effort is a waste of time, but eventually people will respond to their good manners with respect and appreciation. This will build their confidence and encourage them to continue to use and improve their social skills.

Teach Your Child

Basic manners you can teach your children can be broken down into three categories:

1. Table Manners

  • Wash your hands before you sit down
  • Place your napkin in your lap
  • Wait to eat until everyone has been served
  • Keep your elbows off the table
  • Chew with your mouth closed
  • Don't talk on the phone or text during meals
  • Say "please" and "thank you"
  • Ask for things to be passed, rather than reach for them
  • Avoid noises such as burping and slurping
  • Thank the cook for the meal
  • Ask to be excused
  • Clear your dishes from the table
  • Offer to help clean the kitchen

2. Classroom or Team Manners

  • Attend with a good attitude
  • Arrive with a smile and a greeting
  • Call adults/teachers/coaches by the title or name they prefer
  • Don't call children any names other than their own
  • Know and follow the classroom/team rules
  • Take turns with supplies and equipment
  • Never push to get what you want
  • Raise your hand and wait to be called on
  • Keep your space neat and your things picked up
  • Offer to help clean up
  • Be quiet in the hallway and library

3. Social Manners

  • Greet people with a smile
  • Stand up to greet people and shake their hand
  • Introduce yourself
  • Introduce the people you are with, addressing women, then the eldest first
  • Look people in the eyes when talking
  • Be a good listener
  • Show interest by asking questions or making comments
  • Don't interrupt
  • Speak clearly
  • When answering, say yes or no and add sir, ma'am, or the person's name
  • Excuse yourself to answer the phone or text
  • Say "excuse me" if you accidentally rude make noises
  • In crowded places, offer adults your seat
  • Open the door for others
  • Share whatever you have with others
  • Offer to help those in need

More helpful information on this topic:

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© 2014 Family First. All Rights Reserved. Family First, All Pro Dad, iMOM, and Family Minute with Mark Merrill are registered trademarks.