As the saying goes, the children are our future. As parents we feel the need to guide our children in the right direction so that they can live fulfilled, happy and successful lives. Unlike us, however, our children are growing up surrounded by technology. It’s an integral part of our everyday lives, and nobody knows what it will be like when our kids are our age.
But with this awesome new technology, kids are less apt to understanding the importance of proper manners and etiquette in public and even at home. If we want to guarantee a bright future for our children, we need to prepare them to be civilized and mature–even at an early age.
Our children model a lot of our behaviors, as we are the ones they see nearly every day for about the first eighteen years of their lives. So in order to set a good example, we must first show them what proper manners are.
It is vital for our kids to know that manners are a demonstration of respect for another person. Even if you don’t know someone, being polite and respectful with them goes a long way. From early on, teach your kids to say “please” and “thank you.” Not only is it polite, but it is also incredibly cute at a very young age. Also teach them to say “you’re welcome” to someone who thanks them. If walking through a crowded space and they accidentally run into somebody, teach them to say “excuse me.” They should also know better not to roll their eyes, make rude gestures or faces or scoff at people.
Etiquette seems to be dying out, as more and more families get caught up in the hustle and bustle of everyday lives. Teaching your kids proper etiquette at the dinner table–even if it’s fast food you’re serving up–will help set them up for those moments where you won’t be around to correct them. Show them not to put their elbows on the table, or reach over other people to grab condiments. If you children have phones, make sure they put them on silent–not vibrate–and not touch them until mealtime is over.
This falls back once again on the idea of respect. While it may seem old fashioned, you wouldn’t want your child acting this way in front of a potential boyfriend or girlfriend’s parents.
The most important thing we need to teach our children is how to work with others. No matter what work your child goes into when he or she grows up, every industry requires working with people. Teach them to be sensitive to other’s feelings, and that their actions will affect others. When they’re younger, watch them run around on the church playground or in a park with other children. That way they will learn how to communicate with other people and still be polite.
When teaching etiquette to our children, we must remember to let them make mistakes. Anyone will say the biggest lessons they’ve learned are a result of their making mistakes. When your child does mess up, provide them constructive feedback that will help them realize how to avoid making the same mistake again. Don’t be harsh or overly critical; in fact, help them figure out what it is they did wrong rather than just telling them. It will build their self-awareness and ability to think critically.
So by teaching our kids proper manners, we are preparing them for the big, scary “real world” and ensuring that we have a brighter future.