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On Good Behaviour: Excellent Etiquette For Kids

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By Mia Bolaris-Forget

One of my BIGGEST pet peeves is when people presume that rules and social norms DON’T apply to children, and believing that they’ll learn “right” and “wrong” in due time.

In fact, I’m a strong believer that parents are raising adults and not necessarily children, and when it comes to manners and behaviour, there’s no better time than the present for teaching them proper protocol.

Dining Dynamics: If they are old enough to reach the table and hold their own utensils than they are old enough to follow the rules of fine dining. Teach children to push their chair in and keep their chin over the table and over their plate. In addition, when attending a formal function, children should be expected to use their utensils like grown-ups starting fro the outside-in.

Telephone Techniques: Just like we (adults) have certain conditions placed on making calls, including how we speak, and what time we make our call, kids need to also learn to abide by the same rules. They should be taught that they should not make call during meal-time hours, times when others should be studying or before or after certain hours in the a.m. or p.m. In addition, children should always identify themselves to the person who answers when calling a friend or relative, and then ask for the person they are trying to contact.

Unwritten writing rules: Children should be taught about proper correspondence. Anytime someone goes out of their way for them, or takes more than 15 minutes to do something, a phone call followed by a handwritten note or picture is considered proper. In fact, it lets the other person know just how much their effort meant.

Goodness Gracious: Being gracious and courteous to others, even those you may not like is always a plus.

Shoe Semantics: It’s probably polite to ask if shoes in the home are okay when visiting others, as some strongly prefer not to have outdoor dirt and grime dragged through their home/house. It’s also preferable to have nice shoes for a flawlessly polished look, and to help make a good first impression.

Food For Thought: Keep an open mind about what you give kids to eat. And, teach them to be open (within reason) to new and exciting foods, tastes and cultures. It’s also important to teach them to place their napkin on their lap, wipe their mouth and hands and to take small, elegant bits of food.

Inquisitive Minds: Teach your child to be curious and to ask question, especially since knowledge is power. It’s especially important to teach them to ask questions about themselves and things they are interested in.

Nuances of Nice: Regardless of where they are or who they are with, it’s important to teach kids to be not only polite but nice. Enforce friendly behaviour such as speaking to the new kid at school and or asking him or her to sit at their table for lunch. Also, make sure to make please and thank you a “must”.

The Name Game: Teach children to use someone’s name, at least once in the first 12 seconds of meeting them or speaking with them. For instance: Thank you for taking me to the movies Auntie Mary, or Uncle Joe. This is not only helpful in helping with remembering who specific people are, but it makes the exchange more personal, earnest and heartfelt, and makes people want to continue doing nice things for you.

Long Island Family Life & Parenting Articles > On Good Behaviour: Excellent Etiquette For Kids

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